This alert is up-to-date as at 18:00 (GMT) on Wednesday 14 April 2020. This update serves as a follow up to the series of alerts issued since 23 March 2020. This does not constitute an exhaustive list of measures proposed by the UK Government. The public guidance is being continually updated by the UK Government, HM Treasury and the Bank of England which is being closely monitored.
HMRC has published further clarifications in respect of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (known as the Furlough Scheme) (“CJRS”) and its practical operation which had previously been left unclear. For more information on what the CJRS is, please see our previous alerts published on 23 March, 30 March, and 8 April 2020.
The following is a short summary of the key points the HMRC update addressed:
- Employers can switch employees from sick pay to furlough and vice versa, although this should not be used to 'top up' SSP for short term absences.
- Employers can furlough 'shielding' employees, and they do not have to be placed on sick pay.
- Employees on work visas will not be treated as breaching their visa conditions if they receive furlough scheme payments (which will not be counted as access to public funds).
- A new employer of employees transferred across since 28 February 2020 where TUPE rules apply can put them on furlough.
- In addition to not being able to conduct any work for their employer while on furlough, furloughed employees also must not work for any organisations linked to their employer.
- The reclaimable National Insurance and pension amounts are on the furlough salary, not the employee’s usual salary.
- The whole of the furlough grant must be paid to the employee (without deductions for fees, administration, or payment for contractual benefits).
It is expected that further clarifications will be published on an ongoing basis as HMRC work through the various issues.
The views expressed herein are solely the views of the authors and do not represent the views of Brown Rudnick LLP, those parties represented by the authors, or those parties represented by Brown Rudnick LLP. Specific legal advice depends on the facts of each situation and may vary from situation to situation. Information contained in this article may be incomplete and is not intended to constitute legal advice by the authors or the lawyers at Brown Rudnick LLP, and it does not establish a lawyer-client relationship.