The revised furlough scheme came into effect from 1 November, and revisions are already being made to the Guidance.
Beyond the headlines of the 80% grant, being paid in arrears, there a number of differences from the original furlough scheme.
The following four provisions are likely to be important for all employers who are considering using the revised scheme.
1. Limits on retrospective furlough agreements: any furlough or flexible furlough agreement that has retrospective effect (back-dating to 1 November 2020 as the start date of the revised scheme) had to have been completed by 13 November 2020.
2. Public information: HMRC have long trailed that they will actively pursue employers who have wrongfully claimed under the furlough scheme, and will 'name and shame'. It has now been made clear that the identity of any employer claiming under the revised scheme from December 2020 onwards will be made public. Those organisations who have not claimed under the scheme, or repaid sums claimed, may feel it fair that those receiving support should be identified.
3. Maternity returners must give 8 weeks notice: Any woman returning from maternity leave before the end of the statutory periods of maternity leave must give her employer 8 weeks notice of that fact and cannot be placed on furlough during those 8 weeks. Under the previous scheme such early returners could potentially be paid under the furlough scheme during a period maternity leave when they would not otherwise have been entitled to any maternity pay.
4. Notice and furlough: The Government has moved swiftly to confirm that no claim can be made against the furlough scheme in respect of any period of statutory or contractual notice due to the employee after the end of November. From December, employers will have to bear the full cost of the notice period (which as previously is payable at the full salary, not at the furlough rate).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.