9th April – HMRC publishes 3rd version of the Job Retention Scheme guidance for employers
Just as the Easter bank holiday weekend started, HMRC published the third version of the Job Retention Scheme Guidance for employers.
The main changes are as follows:
Activities during furlough
The guidance continues to confirm that employees cannot undertake work whilst on furlough. This was always the case for the employer, but this has now been broadened to include any linked or associated organisation.
In a change of approach, staff who are absent on short time/illness and self-isolation can be furloughed but they should no longer receive sick pay and would be classed as furloughed like any other employee. If an employee becomes sick whilst on furlough, it is up to employers to decide whether to keep them on furlough or more then onto the SSP scheme.
Employers are also entitled to furlough employees who are shielding or who are off on long term sickness. It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees. When an employee is on furlough, you can only reclaim through the JRS and not the SSP rebate scheme in addition. If a non-furloughed employee becomes sick or needs to self-isolate or shield, then the employer can still qualify for the SSP rebate scheme – just not at the same time as furlough.
The new guidance confirms that a new employer is eligible to furlough and claim under the JRS in respect of employees who TUPE transferred to them after 28th February 2020.
Where a group of companies have multiple PAYE schemes and there is a transfer of all employees from these schemes into a new consolidated PAYE scheme after 28th February 2020, then the new scheme will be eligible to furlough.
Confirmation that those with certain work visas will not be regarded as breaching their visa conditions if they receive funds under the furlough scheme.
National Insurance & Pension
Clarification that the reclaimable National Insurance and pension elements are based on the employee’s furlough salary, not their normal salary.
Reiteration that the entire grant must be paid to the employee, with no deductions for administration charges, fees or other costs. Employers cannot enter into any transaction with the worker which reduces the wages below the full grant amount.