On Monday 25 January 2021 the Government officially extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (the ‘furlough’ scheme) until 30 April 2021. There are already rumours circulating that another extension may soon be announced which would see the CJRS run in to summer 2021.
Whilst there are no changes to the particulars of the payments under the CJRS at present (i.e. the Government will continue to pay 80% of a furloughed-employee’s salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum £2,500 per month), the new Treasury Directory clarifies that the reference salary for employees other than fixed-rate employees is the amount payable to that employee in the corresponding month in 2019, not in 2020. This covers the eventuality that those employees may have already been receiving furlough pay in 2020.
In addition, HMRC announced that it will, from February 2021, begin to publish information relating to any CJRS claims made from 1 December 2020 onwards on gov.uk, unless publication would subject the employer’s workforce to a serious risk of violence or intimidation. The published information will include the employer’s name, the employer’s company number and the value of any CJRS claims made which will be shown within a banded range.
Finally, HMRC has confirmed that employees who are unable to work due to vulnerabilities or caring responsibilities are eligible for furlough. The updated guidance clarifies that ‘unable to work’ includes working from home or working reduced hours because the employee is clinically extremely vulnerable or at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or has caring responsibilities for children or vulnerable individuals resulting from COVID-19.