A further update to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

It is the Friday afternoon before a long bank holiday weekend. That can mean only one thing… a change/update to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as Furlough Leave).

A new Treasury Direction for the Scheme has been issued by HM Treasury today. For those looking for some light reading this holiday weekend, the New Treasury Direction can be found here.

We will provide a more detailed commentary of the latest changes in due course but, for now, some key points are:

  • SSP – there is new wording on the interaction between SSP and Furlough (paragraph 6.3). If SSP is due to be paid to an employee, then they cannot be furloughed until the period of incapacity has ended. On the face of it, the provisions in the Direction and Government guidance still appear to be inconsistent.
  • Agreement in writing – the Direction no longer appears to require the employee’s agreement in writing to be furloughed. Now, “notification” is all that is required (paragraph 6.7(b)(iii)). Note, however, that employees will still require to agree to be furloughed.
  • Study or training – the Direction provides more detail on what study and training is permitted under the Scheme (paragraph 6.8).
  • Non-discretionary payments – it is now clear that overtime, fees, commissions, piece rates can count as “regular pay” under the Scheme (paragraph 7.19).
  • TUPE – the relevant date for TUPE transfers has been changed from 19 March 2020 to 28 February 2020, which means that claims under the Scheme can be made in respect of employees transferred under TUPE even if there has been no RTI submission before 19 March 2020.
  • Extension Date – the Direction has only been extended the Scheme to 30 June 2020 (Paragraph 12). A further extension will be needed as it us understood the Scheme will run to October with some significant changes (the details of which are yet to be announced) from 1 August 2020.

We will provide further details of the changes to the Direction but if you have any questions in the meantime please contact a member of our employment law team.

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