Guidance for British Luxury Businesses | News on the extension of the JRS

Following on from the Government’s three-week extension of the social distancing measures, The Chancellor confirmed on Friday a four-week extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of June. The scheme which allows firms to furlough employees with the Government paying 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 was originally open for 3 months, starting from the 1st March. Last week, the Government also announced an extension to the date from which employees would qualify for the scheme, from the 28th February to the 19th March. The extensions and further Government support is welcomed by both employers and employees to protect jobs and livelihoods in these challenging times.

In summary:

All UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.

The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and runs for a period of 4 months, to the end of June (extended from the end of May on the 17th April) but may be extended if necessary.

The scheme covers employees in your employment on the 19th March, extended from the original date of the 28th February.

Employees are not able to work for your business during the time but are able work for a second employer (provided this is not contrary to their contract of employment) and are able to volunteer (for the NHS and charities, but not for your business).

Employers are able to roll-on and roll-off employees with a minimum of 3 weeks.

Employees on furlough have the same rights as previously, which includes holiday accrual.

The portal developed by HMRC is due to open on the 10th April and we can expect to see the first grants being paid by the end of April ahead of the end of month payroll.

As it is a grant, the employer does not need to pay the funds back.

Questions still remain around holidays during furlough – including can employers can ask employees to take holiday and if employees are due normal pay or furlough pay while on holiday. The Government has announced that if employees are unable to take their holiday allowance due to the impact of the coronavirus, employees may roll over their holiday allowance for up to  2 years.

For more, please click the following links:

CBI Coronavirus JRS factsheet

Mishcon de Reya Coronavirus JRS update

Mishcon de Reya Covid-19 FAQs for employees

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