- HMRC’s portal enabling employers to claim 80% of furlough employees’ salaries (capped at £2,500 pcm) went live today. This is in line with the target date for the portal going live. It reportedly requires the same information as is set out in the guidance in order for the subsidy to be claimed.
Extension until end of June
- On Friday afternoon the Government announced it was extending the furlough subsidy scheme. It will now be possible for employees to be furloughed for longer. The previous cut-off date was 31 may. The new cut-off date is end of June. This may assist employers who wish, in due course, to slowly bring staff back to work by furloughing in rotation.
- Large organisations that may have been planning 100 or more redundancy dismissals by 31 May would have had to have started collective consultation by last Friday to allow them 45 days of consultation before the end of the original furlough period. Extending the furlough period may prevent or postpone triggering collective redundancy consultations for some.
Annual leave and furlough according to HMRC
- The employee’s guidance on taking furlough leave has clarified the position on taking annual leave whilst on furlough. This is from HMRC’s perspective in terms of administering furlough payments as opposed to being a statement of underpinning employment law. According to the updated employee guidance, annual leave can be taken whilst on furlough leave. Holiday pay to be topped up to 100% (rather than the furloughed 80%).
- It still isn’t clear whether or not an employer can require an employee to take annual leave whilst the employee is on furlough leave. There are split opinions on whether or not it is possible to take both kinds of leave (furlough leave and annual leave) at the same time.
SSP and furlough according to HMRC
- There is also clarification about SSP. According to HMRC, SSP cannot be claimed whilst on furlough leave. This makes sense otherwise an employee would be potentially claiming two lots of potentially government subsidised payments for the same, or some of the same, period of time.
- The Government, not HMRC, has also now made regulations formally allowing shielding employees to claim SSP if they fell into the category of extremely vulnerable persons. It is unclear whether claiming of SSP from 16 April when the Regulations came in force is possible or not so, some more clarification is required there.
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