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Further updates on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

15/04/2020

There has been a further brief update to the Job Retention Scheme guidance.  From an initial review, the main change appears to be that the eligibility requirement is now that the employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March (previously this was 28 February). 

This change also flows through to the question of which employees are eligible to be claimed for. 

  • Eligible employees are now defined as those that that were on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.
  • Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.
  • If an employer made employees redundant, or they stopped working for them on or after 28 February 2020, the employer can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme. This applies to employees that were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after 28 February, even if they do not re-employ them until after 19 March. This applies as long as the employee was on your payroll as at 28 February and had been notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February 2020.

WR comment - The language seems to be rather opaque and potentially inconsistent when considering employees who have been made redundant.  Our reading of this is that employees who were made redundant on or after 19 March (which is the day before the scheme was announced) do not now seem to be eligible to be re-employed and placed on furlough – a restriction that seemed not to appear in the original guidance.  This seems particularly unfortunate as it may well be that employers re-employed people who had been made redundant on or after 19 March and then re-employed them in the expectation that they would then be able to place them on furlough and claim under the scheme.  We would hope for further clarity around this point in due course.

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