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Extended Furlough: Guidance Published

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The Guidance for the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has just been released.

I've been through the two most important sets of updated guidance. although there are actually thirteen:-

Check which employees you can put on furlough; and,

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages

The former contains the following rather alarming sentence:  "The government is reviewing whether employers should be eligible 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 published in late November."  In other words, if you're an employer thinking about dismissing someone (whether for redundancy or otherwise), make sure you give them notice before 1 December.

The latter also has an alarming sentence: "From December 2020, HMRC will publish employer names for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships ( LLPs ), the company registration number of those who have made claims under the scheme for the month of December onwards."

Here are the other key points:-

- As is well known, from 1 November 2020 employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

- Employers can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as they have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between the 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee, unless they re-employed an employee after 23 September 2020.

- There is no maximum number of employees that employers can claim for (under the existing furlough scheme, employers could only claim for the number of employees they had claimed for previous to June).  Employees returning from maternity leave need to give the statutory eight weeks' notice to end maternity leave early in order to be furloughed (and get furlough pay, typically higher than SMP).  The Guidance does not deal with the issue of the employee and employer who agree to shorten that eight week period; my previous view was that employers and employees were able to agree to shorten the period, but that no longer appears consistent with the latest wording of the Guidance.

- The employer must confirm in writing to the employee that they have been furloughed, and keep a written record for five years.  I have produced a detailed template furlough agreement, available to all members of or purchasers of

- Employers can agree retrospectively to furlough someone with effect from 1 November 2020, as long as the agreement to retrospectively claim furlough occurs on or before 13 November.  That's this Friday.