1st June 2020
From the initial introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), employers have grappled with the rules as guidance was rolled out and amended several times. Thousands have successfully made initial claims, and the scheme has undoubtedly provided a much-needed financial lifeline for many businesses and their employees.
As steps are being taken to emerge from lockdown, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out in broad terms (with the detail and yet more guidance to follow) the changes that will see the scheme wind down and then close completely at the end of October 2020.
As with the current rules of the CJRS with which a vast number of employers are now only too familiar, there will be guidance and a new Treasury Direction (the legal framework that sits behind the scheme and is followed by HMRC) issued in the coming weeks. Below are the key points announced on Friday 29 May:
It is anticipated that more detailed guidance will follow in the next two weeks. In the meantime, the changes to the scheme in its final months will be an important factor in businesses’ plans and their ability and need to bring staff back from furlough as lockdown eases.
As with our mantra when advising clients on the introduction of the CJRS and the then new concept of ‘furlough’, having open and honest communication remains critical to preserving the confidence and goodwill of staff, many of whom may have been furloughed for weeks and months already; they will also have listened to the Chancellor on Friday and have many questions about what this means for them. Another key imperative for employers is the need to take as much care as we phase out of furlough to fairly implement the changes they may need to make, as was the case when going into it.
Please note: Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice and we are not liable for any reliance on the information provided. This is a rapidly changing subject, and whilst correct at the time of writing, circumstances may have changed since publication.
To find out more about anything covered in this article, or to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on your business, please contact Kerrie Hunt or another member of Thrings’ Employment and Immigration team.