Coronavirus

HMRC adds new guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC has issued new guidance regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme and clarifies eligibility for those returning from sick leave and TUPE staff.

Issued at the end of last week the third update to the scheme has provided clarification on all aspects of sick leave including those returning from maternity leave, and those who are furloughed and then become sick moving onto Statutory Sick Pay.

You can find the new guidance issued below:

If your employee is self-isolating or on sick leave

  • If your employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of coronavirus, the government they’ll be able to get Statutory Sick Pay, subject to other eligibility conditions applying. The coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness, and there is a three-week minimum furlough period.
  • Short term illness/ self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.
  • Employers are also entitled to furlough employees who are being shielded or off on long-term sick leave. It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees. You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.
  • When an employee is on furlough, you can only reclaim expenditure through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and not the SSP rebate scheme. If a non-furloughed employee becomes ill, needs to self-isolate or be shielded, then you might qualify for the SSP rebate scheme, enabling you to claim up to two weeks of SSP per employee.

If your employee becomes sick while furloughed

  • The government has ruled that furloughed employees retain their statutory rights, including their right to Statutory Sick Pay. This means that furloughed employees who become ill must be paid at least Statutory Sick Pay. It is up to employers to decide whether to move these employees onto Statutory Sick Pay or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.
  • If a furloughed employee who becomes sick is moved onto SSP, employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary. Employers are required to pay SSP themselves, although may qualify for a rebate for up to two weeks of SSP. If employers keep the sick furloughed employee on the furloughed rate, they remain eligible to claim for these costs through the furloughed scheme.

Employee transfers under TUPE and on a change in ownership

  • A new employer is eligible to claim under the CJRS in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred after 28th February 2020 if either the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

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