We continue to receive further updates regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme via questions to a Parliamentary Select Committee and social media. These are yet to be officially announced, though they do suggest that HMRC are doing all they can to put their systems in place quickly.
Scheme Portal for employers
The Parliamentary Select Committee have been advised that the portal through which companies may apply for the wage reimbursement scheme will open on 20th April 2020. This has beaten the Government’s target of having the system up and running at the end of this month. It is even anticipated that the first reimbursements will be made to employers on 30th April 2020 in time for the month end payroll.
This is good news for employers, but we will have to see how the system works when in operation, as the payment timescales may well slip.
Furlough Leave and TUPE
HM Treasury sent an email to David Johnston MP on 6th April 2020, regarding TUPE transfers on or after 28th February 2020. This email suggests that TUPE transferees from on or after 28th February will be eligible for furlough leave, despite not falling into the requirement of being on payroll on 28th February. Mr Johnston subsequently shared this email on Twitter for his constituents and the wider audience to view.
There have been many questions raised regarding HM Treasury’s response, as this refers to employers and not employees. We are yet to receive any official guidance on this subject so we can’t guarantee that this advice will hold up in practice.
Annual Leave and Furlough Leave
With the impending Easter Bank holiday, many employers are asking for clarity on the treatment of annual leave for employees who have been furloughed. HMRC Customer Support tweeted on 7th April 2020 to confirm that annual leave will not disrupt the minimum furlough leave requirement of 3 weeks.
The tweet chain from HMRC Customer Support suggests that employees who take or are on annual leave during furlough leave should be paid 100% of their wage, rather than 80% under the job retention scheme. It is still unclear as to whether employers will be able to claim 80% of this contribution from the Government scheme.
We will have to wait for updated guidance from the Government on this point. There is pressure from many lobby groups for clarification on this point, given the number of bank holidays in the calendar over the next few weeks.
Help and Advice
If you are an employer furloughing your employees and are not sure of the process you must follow, contact us today to discuss our Furlough Leave Advice Pack containing up to date information and template letters for you to use.
The Backhouse Solicitors Team
Tel: 01245 893400
Visit: 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website