With the announcement of the new lockdown that starts today (5th November 2020), we have been busy supporting our clients with the extension of the job retention scheme which has today been extended until 31st March 2021. Here are the top FAQs asked by our clients this week and updated to reflect today’s announcement.
Which employees can I claim the extended job retention scheme for?
You can claim for employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible, zero-hour contracts and office holders (including company directors).
Employers do not need to have used furlough before in order to use the job retention scheme. However, to be eligible employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020.
Will I need to obtain agreement from employees to be furloughed under the extended job retention scheme?
Yes, you should discuss the situation with employees and agree with them that you are designating them as a furloughed worker.
If you had already agreed with employees to be placed into the now postponed Job Support Scheme, you will need to revisit the agreement and ensure your employee agrees to be furloughed under the job retention scheme.
How much is the grant this time?
For claim periods running to January 2021, eligible employers who furlough eligible employees will be able to claim the job retention scheme grant to cover 80% of furloughed employees’ wage costs for unworked hours. This is up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month. Employers will need to pay National Insurance and auto-enrolment pension contributions for hours not worked.
The Government will review the scheme in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
We have just made an employee redundant. Can we re-hire and place the individual on furlough?
If you have taken the decision to make employees redundant due to the impact of coronavirus and they were on your payroll on 23 September 2020, you can re-hire the redundant employee as long as you have made a Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020. Employment rights will be re-instated for those employees who are re-hired and placed on furlough.
We employ individuals who are classified as clinically extremely vulnerable. How can I support these employees?
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable are being strongly advised to work from home. If they cannot work from home, the guidance states that they should not attend work for this new period of restrictions.
If individuals and employers meet the extended job retention scheme criteria, employers may decide to utilise the scheme and agree to place vulnerable employees on the furlough scheme. Alternatively, individuals shielding may be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP).
Further guidance on the extended job retention scheme is expected to follow from the Government over the coming days.