On 20 March 2020, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme) as part of the UK government’s measures to help support businesses through the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have seen various iterations of guidance on the Scheme (on 26 March, 4 April, 9 April, 15 April and 17 April), and on 15 April 2020, a Treasury Direction was issued setting out the legal framework. Here is the updated position, as at 20 April 2020.
About the Scheme
What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? It is a temporary scheme announced by the UK government on 20 March 2020 as part of its package of measures to help support businesses through the current COVID-19 pandemic.
What does the Scheme do? The Scheme allows an employer to designate certain individuals who are paid wages via the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system as ‘furloughed’, keeping them on payroll but not requiring them to work. The employer can then seek reimbursement of some of its labour costs from the government (see below).
How is the Scheme accessed? Reimbursement is via an HMRC portal which went live on 20 April 2020.
When does the Scheme start? It will be backdated to start from 1 March 2020 and will run for an initial period of four months, but may be extended. Employers can use the Scheme at any time while it is open.
Is the Scheme compulsory? It does not appear to be a compulsory scheme; employers are not obliged to make use of the Scheme, and workers will need to consent to be furloughed if it means a change to their terms and conditions (see ‘Does a worker have to consent to furlough?’ below).
Continue Reading Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated position as at 20 April 2020)