London-based accountancy firm Davis Grant is encouraging businesses to take care over the latest extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), as it contains many important changes.
The Government has now published its full guidance for the extended furlough scheme, which will remain in place until 31 March 2021, offering to cover 80 per cent of employees’ wages, up to £2,500, for the hours they do not work.
Employers are only required to pay for hours worked and National Insurance and workplace pension contributions.
Neil Driver, Director at Davis Grant, said businesses looking to make use of the new scheme are having to act quickly after it was announced that they only had until Friday 13 November to agree to retrospectively furlough or flexibly furlough an employee from 1 November.
As many employers rush to reach agreements with staff over furlough, Neil said that they needed to take not to miss out on new rules that could affect their business.
“While much of the scheme remains the same, there are several key points that employers need to consider, so it is important that they read the fine print of the new scheme,” said Neil.
“One significant change will allow HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to publish the names and registration numbers of limited companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) that claim a grant from the CJRS.
“This may not bother some businesses, but for others, they may have concerns about how it will affect their reputation.”
Businesses also need to take additional care over planned redundancies for furloughed staff, said Davis Grant, as the Government is considering new rules regarding pay for those that are dismissed.
Neil added: “The latest guidance makes it clear that a further rule change may mean that from 1 December 2020 claims in respect of employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods could be prevented.
“Further guidance on this will not be available until later this month. However, employers must consider how they will handle future payments to employees that are leaving the company, as they may be required to contribute more to the costs of an employee’s dismissal.”
As well as new rules around notice periods, the guidance contains measures relating to maternity leave and the steps businesses can take where they believe they have underclaimed for the furlough grant.
Neil said: “The rules around the CJRS are complex and vast. there are lots of fine details that businesses must abide by, including complex calculations for working out the amount of financial support available via the CJRS.
“With the possibility of fines and payments for any errors, it is important that businesses seek out additional professional advice to ensure they can take full advantage of the furlough scheme while minimising the risk of non-compliance.”
Throughout the pandemic, Davis Grant has been working with local businesses, providing support and advice on a wide range of issues. It has said it is once again standing by employers to help them with the administration of the CJRS.