On 14 May 2020, the government released a variety of both updated and new guidance documents, including:-
1. an updated version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which includes:
a. information regarding the extension of the Scheme (as announced on 12 May and covered in our previous post here).
2. Updated guidance regarding how to claim and how to work out 80% of wages, including;
a. further details regarding what elements of wages count towards the 80% under Scheme;
b. a new section regarding non-discretionary payments which states that employers should only include payments which they have a contractual obligation to pay & to which employees have an enforceable right. It confirms that if variable payments are always made, they may become non-discretionary.
c. a new section on 'non-discretionary overtime payments' which states that 'Payments for overtime worked are non-discretionary when you are contractually obliged to pay the employee at a set and defined rate for the overtime that they have worked.'
d. Employers can only make one claim per claim period so each claim should include all of the employees that are to be placed on furlough for that claim period.
e. The claim end date must be no more than 14 days in the future from the date the claim is made.
f. Records must be kept for at least 6 years.
3. a new guidance document "Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme". While this contains information largely taken from the Scheme guidance, it also provides clarification that:-
a. once an employer has checked they can put their employees on furlough and claim through the scheme for their wages, they will need to agree it with the employee prior to submitting a claim under the Scheme. Therefore express agreement with employees is necessary.
b. employers cannot furlough an employee and then ask them to volunteer for the employer in the same or a different role.
4. Separate guidance relating to holiday entitlement and pay has been released by the government.