Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – change to qualifying date for furlough workers

16 April 2020

16 April 2020 by Richard Maitland

Change to qualifying date for furlough to include more weekly-paid employees

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the UK government has announced a series of measures to support businesses and their employees.

One of those measures is the CJRS, which will allow employers to claim 80% of the wages of employees (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee) that they have furloughed.

Previous HMRC guidance stated that employees had to be on the employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 28 February 2020 to be eligible to be furloughed.

HMRC have announced on the 15th April a change to that key date. Employers will now be able to make claims under the CJRS for furloughed employees that were on the PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020.

This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020. Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

What employers should do now

Many employers will have already taken furlough decisions / actions based on the previous 28 February date.

These could now be revisited to decide whether and to what extent to include employees who were hired up to the new 19 March date. An important factor will be the requirement for an RTI submission to have been made in respect of these employees by 19 March. So employees who were hired between 28 February and 19 March but not included in a monthly RTI submission until say the end of March would potentially still not be eligible. Such employees who were included in weekly, fortnightly or mid-monthly RTI submissions on or before 19 March would however now likely be eligible.

The other CJRS eligibility criteria will continue to apply. All implications of furloughing should continue to be considered in the round and appropriate advice taken.

Find out more

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