Government Announcement – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Third Update

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Last night the Government published a third updated version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The link is here. It is self explanatory for the most part but I highlight below some particular changes:-

  1. Employers can furlough shielding employees (that is shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay at home with someone who is shielding)). They do not have to be placed on sick pay.
  2. Furloughed employees who become ill must be paid at least Statutory Sick Pay. It is up to employers to decide whether to move these employees onto Statutory Sick Pay or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.
  3. The position on whether staff who have recently been TUPE transferred can be furloughed is cleared up. Yes they can be furloughed subject to meeting the criteria – “A new employer is eligible to claim under the CJRS in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred after 28th February 2020 if either the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.”
  4. Employees cannot work for organisations that are “linked” to the employer, as well as not working for the employer when on furlough leave.

There is still no firm guidance in this update regarding whether holidays can be taken during Furlough Leave and if so, what is the rate of holiday pay for this under the Scheme. However, earlier this week, HMRC Customer Support tweeted as follows, “If an employee is on holiday or has a scheduled Bank Holiday while on furlough, they are entitled to still receive this holiday. Employers must ensure that any employee on holiday or a Bank Holiday is paid their full salary for that period of holiday.” We still require certainty though over this in the form of clear Government guidance. Hopefully the Government will address this in a further update of the Scheme in the coming days.

Astons Solicitors
10th April 2020