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Furlough Update: Government change calculation date to 19th March

There has been a total of four iterations of the Government’s guidance surrounding its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The fourth was released yesterday. It contained a number of important changes and updates. The most notable of which was that the Furlough qualifying date was changed from the 28th February 2020 to the 19th March 2020.

Changing this date widens the scope for employers to claim for their more recent recruits; those who may have previously fallen outside the scope of the scheme because, for example, they changed jobs between the 28th February and 19th March.  Crucially, employers will now be able to furlough employees that were on the payroll on or prior to 19th March 2020 provided they were notified to HMRC on an RTI Submission on or before 19th March 2020.

The published update went on to confirm that those who were employed but ceased working for their employer after 28th February 2020 can be re-employed and placed on furlough. However, this will only apply as long as the employee was on your payroll as at 28th February and had been notified to HMRC via an RTI submission on or before 28th February 2020. It was also confirmed that those who started unpaid leave after 28th February 2020 could be placed on furlough, but not until the date on which it was agreed they would return from unpaid leave.

The most notable of which was that the Furlough qualifying date was changed from the 28th February 2020 to the 19th March 2020.

Finally, the guidance now states that the 80% pay calculation should be based on the employee’s salary, as in their last pay period prior to 19th March 2020 (theoretically this should be the same as the figure on 28th February if paid monthly at the end of each month).  Nevertheless, if, based on previous HMRC guidance, you have calculated your claim based on the employee’s salary as at 28th February 2020 (and this differs from their salary in their last pay period prior to 19th March 2020) you can choose to still use this calculation for your first claim.

This is a reminder that the we are all in unchartered territory and will need to adapt to new guidance where possible. Clearly, the government can and will change its guidance and advice periodically.

Do not hesitate to get in contact with our Employment Team if you have any questions or would like to discuss the guidance in more detail.

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This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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