Job Retention Scheme updates and planning ahead
On Thursday 30 April the Government stealthily updated the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Guidance. The key fundamental principles remain unchanged but further clarity has been issued, as Cecily Donoghue explains:
Company Directors with an annual pay period
The guidance now confirms that company directors who pay themselves annually are eligible to claim under the scheme as long as they meet the relevant conditions – which includes being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19th March 2020.
Furloughed employees working as union or non-union representatives
This has been a big query for businesses planning to commence redundancy consultation shortly. There was a concern that furloughed staff who were the appointed reps for the purposes of collective consultation may need to be un-furloughed in order to consult with staff. The guidance now confirms that furloughed staff representatives (whether union or non-union reps) may undertake their duties for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees without affecting the eligibility to be furloughed. This arguably also extends to staff who support colleagues by accompanying them to disciplinary, grievance or consultation meetings.
The guidance reverts back to the previous wording confirming that a new employer who received staff in respect of a TUPE transfer after 28th February 2020 (not the 19th March) is eligible to claim under the JRS.
The section of the guidance referring to family leave has been updated to incorporate the new Parental Bereavement Leave entitlement.
3-week periods and the end of the furlough scheme
It has been the case for several weeks now that the minimum furlough period is 3 weeks. The latest version of the guidance confirms that each period of furlough can be extended by any amount of time, however, fairly obviously, the scheme end date is the last day you can claim for through this scheme – regardless of where this falls in a 3 week period of furlough.
Boris Johnson announced yesterday that we are “past the peak” and that the Government would announce their three stage Covexit plan some time next week. It’s vital that businesses start planning ahead now for the end of the job retention scheme, the lifting of restrictions and the next period of uncertainty as the economy seeks to recover. We have created an Employment and HR guide to Covexit which we will be discussing at our free virtual Employment Breakfast on Tuesday 5th May – sign up here.
Specialist employment solicitors
We will keep you updated should any further guidance be released. If you need support on implementing the scheme within your business, our specialist employment solicitors in Bristol and London can help. Please contact Nick Jones or Cecily Donoghue, call 0117 906 9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org