April 19th Further Furlough Guidance

Late Friday night the government issued 2 further documents to help employers to apply for furlough payments when the Portal Opens on April 20th.

The government have finally given some further guidance on how annual leave and holiday pay will work with furloughed employees. Here are some of the questions that have been answered:

Will an employee accrue annual leave whilst being furloughed?

Yes, they will continue to accrue leave as per their employment contract or the statutory minimum.

Can you lower the holiday pay entitlement whilst in the furlough period?

Yes, but only in respect of contractual holiday, (that is holiday over and above the statutory holiday allowance the 28 days ) and only with the agreement of the employee. Any variation must be part of the furlough agreement. However, almost all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks of statutory paid annual leave each year so you cannot reduce the statutory minimum amount of holiday time staff are entitled to.

Can Staff take holiday whilst being furloughed?

Yes, staff can take holiday whilst on furlough subject to their employers’ agreement. However, employers may require employees to defer taking annual leave because employees will be entitled to their usual holiday pay during annual leave and employers will be obliged to pay the additional amounts due to the employee over the 80%/£2,500 cap. However, given that the 17 April 2020 update to the guidance advises that employers can recoup an employee’s holiday pay via the CJRS up to the 80%/£2,500 limit, some employers may take the view that it would be cost effective to allow workers to take annual leave.

The Government has issued a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Step by Step guide for employers.

This guide explains the information that employers need to provide to claim for their employees’ wages.

The step by step guide will take you through five sections:

  • Step 1: Essential information
  • Step 2: Before you make your claim
  • Step 3: Calculating your claim
  • Step 4: Making a claim
  • Step 5: What to do next

General information about the scheme

  • To be eligible for CJRS an employer must agree with the employee that they are a ‘furloughed worker’.
  • Employees must be notified that they have been furloughed it is believed by signing and returning the previously issued form this requirement has been met however a further email or letter to the employee keeping a copy for yourself may be prudent.
  • Employees must be furloughed for a minimum of three weeks.
  • The employee cannot do any work for the employer that has furloughed them.
  • You can claim 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per furloughed employee.
  • A separate claim is needed for each PAYE scheme.
  • You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.An RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.
  • You must have a UK bank account.

You can find the guide at www.gov.uk and then look for coronavirus job retention scheme step by step guide for employers

I trust there now be a pause in bulletins but doubtlessly further issues and guidance will arise once the portal becomes operative on April 20th