The government published further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) on 5th April 2020.

The key points of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) are as follows:

  • An employee who has two jobs can be furloughed twice; each job is separate, so the £2,500 cap applies to each job individually. Therefore, a high earning employee who is furloughed from each job could effectively earn £5,000 per month.
  • Employers can reclaim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 (gross) per month with fees, commissions and bonuses not included.  The guidance now states that ‘past overtime’ can be included in the 80%.  The guidance has also changed for commission which now includes compulsory/guaranteed commission payments in the 80%.  Payments for discretionary bonuses, tips, discretionary commission and benefits in kind, for example in relation to company cars, remain excluded.
  • An employee who has been furloughed by their employer can now go and work for another employer.  This means that an employee could, in effect, be earning 180% of what they were previously earning by earning 80% of their salary from their previous employer through the furlough scheme whilst in the same period, earning 100% of salary from their new employer.  A likely reason for this is that the Government wants to encourage individuals to take on jobs which are urgently required for the economy during the crisis.  For example, within the NHS.
  • Employees can be furloughed multiple times, provided that the minimum period of three weeks has been met during each period of furlough leave.
  • Employers can agree to find volunteering or training opportunities for furloughed employees, provided this is in line with current health guidance. 
  • Company directors can be furloughed but are only permitted to carry out statutory duties whilst on furlough leave.  This may include filling an annual return at Company’s House or attending an AGM. 
  • Employers must notify employees in writing of their decision to furlough employees and this record must be kept for five years. 
  • It’s likely that HRMC will devote significant attention to ensuring claim validity after the crisis. Employers are only permitted to claim through the scheme from the date that the employee finished work and commenced furlough leave. 

More details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail or would like more information, contact Ramshaw HR today.

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