There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks regarding the upcoming Christmas break and the interaction with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘CJRS’) with some employers planning to place their employees on furlough while they are on holiday over the Christmas period.
The purpose of the extended CJRS is to provide financial support to employers who have been forced to close their businesses or faced a downturn in the volume of work available for their employees due to the resurgence of coronavirus. The guidance is clear that employees should not be placed on furlough for a period simply because they are on holiday for that period.
Employees who are genuinely furloughed due to their employment activities being adversely affected by the pandemic or the measures taken to restrict further transmission can take holiday during their period of furlough without affecting the CJRS grant available. This holiday can be taken at the request of the employee or, provided the appropriate notice is given, at the employer’s request. Employees should be paid at their normal rate for any period of holiday with the claim for the CJRS grant being restricted to the grant amounts, currently 80% of their usual pay.
Some practical examples:
Employers deciding to place employees on furlough over Christmas should therefore proceed with care, taking into account the guidance available. The CJRS Treasury Direction includes a clause that states no CJRS claim may be made in respect of an employee if it is abusive or is otherwise contrary to the exceptional purposes of CJRS. HMRC has said that it will be checking claims and challenging employers on their reasons for placing employees on furlough to ensure the claim is valid.
Finally, employers should also be aware that HMRC have announced that they will be publishing details of CJRS claims made for periods from 1 December 2020. This will include the employers’ name and Companies House reference (where relevant) together with the value of the claim within set bands which can be found here. Employees will also be able to see on their Personal Tax Account whether a claim has been made for them by their employer.
We are here to help, so if you any queries or wish to discuss the above then please contact us.