Coronavirus job retention scheme – what you need to know

On 20 March 2020, the UK government introduced its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which can offer employers grants to cover up to 80% of their employees’ wages.

The scheme was launched in a bid to try and protect staff from being made redundant – but what does this mean for employers/employees and how can it be claimed?

How much does the scheme offer?

All UK based businesses including charities and public authorities are eligible for the scheme which can offer up to 80% of an employees wages with a cap of up to £2,500 per month for its ‘furloughed workers’ (an individual whose employer cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19).

How can employers claim for the scheme?

Employers must first notify their staff of these changes and thereafter designate them as ‘furloughed workers’. Next, employers must calculate the amount they are claiming and submit details of which employees have been furloughed to HMRC . To claim, employers will need to provide details such as their ePAYE reference number, the number of employees being furloughed, the claim period and the amount claimed. Note that employers can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks – this is the minimum period that an employee can be furloughed for.

Once employers submit their claim and HMRC confirm they are eligible for the grant, they will pay it via BACs payment method directly to the employers UK bank account.

Will my rights as an employee be affected?

If your employer intends on adopting the scheme, this means that you will remain employed while furloughed and your rights as a ‘furloughed worker’ will remain the same to that of non-furloughed worker. These rights include statutory sick pay entitlement, maternity rights and other fundamental employment rights.

Note that once you are on furlough, you will not be able to work for your employer but you can undertake training or volunteer as long as you are not making money or providing services to your employer.

How long will it last?

According to the GOV website, the scheme is temporary and open to all UK employers for a minimum of three months starting from 1 March 2020. Whether or not the time frame will be extended is unknown for the time being.

Employers can submit their claim online via the GOV website which is set to be available by the end of April 2020.

During this uncertain period, employers and employees alike may need to seek legal advice. If you have any queries relating to this article, contact Lawdit Solicitors today where we would be happy to assist you.

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