HMRC has now published updated guidance on the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). As announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 5 November 2020, the CJRS, which was originally due to close on 31 October, has been extended to 31 March 2021. For the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021, the Government will pay 80% of wages for hours not worked up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021 to decide whether employers will be required to make a contribution thereafter.
The updated guidance comprises several documents, including ‘Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’,
‘Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ and ‘Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. Among other things, the guidance confirms:
- That the extended scheme is open for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as well as employees who were made redundant or stopped working on or after 23 September 2020.
- If they are then rehired; that employers do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before 30 October 2020 to claim for periods from 1 November 2020;
- That employers can furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked;
- That employers can continue to claim for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020 until the deadline on 30 November 2020;
- That there is no maximum number of employees that an employer can claim for from 1 November 2020.
Notably, the ‘Check which employees you can put on furlough’ guidance indicates that the Government is reviewing whether employers should be able to claim for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods and will change the approach for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, with further guidance to be published in late November. In other words, if you’re an employer thinking of dismissing someone or making them redundant, make sure you give notice before 1 December.