Key points on coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme
The Government has published a guidance on claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, known as the Furlough Scheme.
Below are key points only, you must also read the Governments full guidance, which can be found here, the ensure you have all the relevant information, as these key points on their own, will not be enough.
• Employers can claim up to 80% of wage costs up to a cap of £2,500 per month, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage. Fees, commissions and bonuses are not included.
• Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including:
- Recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE who are not working)
- Public authorities
• Must have a PAYE payroll on or before 28th February 2020 and must have a UK bank account.
• Employers can claim for:
- Full time employees
- Part time employees
- Employees on agency contracts
- Employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
• Individuals are only entitled to minimum wage for the hours they work. If someone is furloughed and are not working, and 80% of their normal earnings would take them below the minimum wage based on their normal working hours, they still only receive 80% as they are not working.
• Any time spent training will be paid at national minimum wage.
• Employees must have been on the company’s payroll on 28th February 2020 to be eligible. Anyone employed after this date are not eligible. If someone was on the payroll from 28th February 2020 and has since been made redundant, they can be rehired and put on the scheme.
• Furlough leave must be taken in minimum blocks of three weeks to be eligible for funding.
• The employee must not be working at all, if they work for even an hour, they will not be eligible. However, they are able to undertake training and do volunteer work, as long as they do not provide services to or make any money for their employer.
• Normal employment law applies when agreeing changes in hours and acceptance of 80% pay, assuming the employees’ contract does not already allow for that.
• The selection process for furlough should follow the organisations standard redundancy process.
• Employees on sick leave or self-isolating cannot be furloughed, but can be furloughed afterwards. Employees who are shielding* can be placed on furlough.
• Employees on maternity, or similar leave can continue to draw SMP, or similar payments.
• Claims can only be made one every three weeks, and can be backdated to 1st March 2020. The scheme is expected to be up and running by the end of April 2020, with further guidance being issued by the Government on the mechanics of claiming the payments.
* shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.
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