Full HMRC guidance to extended furlough published

Due to the extension of furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to 31 March 2021, the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus, which was a financial incentive for employers to retain staff after the CJRS was due to come to an end, will not be paid in February 2021. HMRC has stated that a retention incentive will be introduced in future ‘at the appropriate time’. 

The Job Support Scheme, which was originally scheduled to start on 1 November 2020, has now also been postponed until the extension of the CJRS ends.

On 10 November 2020, HMRC published full guidance on the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended to 31 March 2021.

Employers and their advisors should take note of the following key changes for furlough claim periods from 1 November 2020 and beyond:

  1. Employers will no longer be able to claim the CJRS grant towards notice pay from December where the furloughed employee is serving a contractual or statutory notice period. Until December, employers were able to claim the CJRS grant for furloughed employees in their notice periods.

  1. Where employers are claiming for an employee for the period from the 1st November retrospectively, only backdated written agreements that were put in place up to and including the 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim for the period up to 13 November 2020. Employers must have confirmed the furlough agreement to their employees in writing in order to claim the CJRS grant. We have template furlough contracts available on the FSB Legal Hub.  

  1. From December 2020, unless limited exceptions apply, the names of employers who claim under the scheme for the month of December onwards and, for employers that are registered Companies or Limited Liability Partnerships, both the company name and registration number, will be published by HMRC, so that this information will be publicly available.  An indication of the amount claimed will also be published. 

  1. There is a shorter deadline for making claims under the extended CJRS for claim periods from November 2020.  The deadlines for submitting claims (unless a ‘reasonable excuse’ applies in respect of the delay) are as follows:

(a) 14 December 2020 in relation to the November 2020 calendar month;

(b) 14 January 2021 in relation to the December calendar month;

(c) 15 February 2021 in relation to the January 2021 calendar month.

Please refer to our factsheet on Furlough and the Extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on the Legal Hub for further guidance.