On 13 November 2020, the government published revised guidance in relation to the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (aka ‘furlough’) which has been extended from 1 November 2020 until 31 March 2021.

The guidance largely clarifies points already set out in the earlier shorter guidance but some important points to note are as follows:

  • Employees should not be placed on furlough for a period for which they have already taken holiday.
  • From 1 December 2020, employers are unable to claim for any days the employee is serving contractual or statutory notice. This includes where notice is given by the employee (for example resignation), or the employer, (for example in a redundancy situation).
  • Employers claiming for employees for the period from 1 November can only rely for the purpose of a claim on retrospective agreements put in place up to and including the 13 November 2020. Thereafter, furlough agreements must be in place prior to the period the employee is placed on furlough.
  • HMRC will publish the names and company numbers of registered companies and limited liability partnerships that have claimed under the scheme along with information about the amount claimed.
  • Claims for periods beginning on or after 1 November must be submitted by the prescribed deadline day which is 14 December 2020 (for November 2020), 14 January 2021 (for December 2020) and 15 February 2021 (for January 2021).
  • The period that an employer claims for under a flexible furlough agreement must in general be for a minimum claim period of seven calendar days.
  • As before, employers must confirm in writing to employees that they have been furloughed and keep a written record of the furlough agreement for five years. 
  • There is no maximum number of employees that employers can claim for.
  • The scheme is available to companies and employees who have not accessed the scheme before subject to qualifying criteria.
  • The Job Retention Bonus has been withdrawn.

The latest Treasury Directive relates to the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 and confirms that a further set of directions will be produced covering the period 1 February 2021 to 31 March 2021. The Government has stated that it will review the situation at that time and consider asking employers to provide a contribution towards the cost of the CJRS (presumably in line with arrangements previously in place in September and October 2020), although exact details are awaited.

We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves. If you would like further details or to discuss the options available to you, please contact Debbie Sadler at djs@blasermills.co.uk or on 01494 478 671.