HMRC has updated their guidance on 15 April 2020 to allow large number of employees to be furloughed. We summarise the updated guidance below.
- You can claim for furloughed employees who were on PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI (real time information) submission on or before 19 March 2020.
- This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.
- It also allows employers to re-hire those who were dismissed between 28 Feb and 19 March and place them on furlough leave.
- More significantly, the wording of the guidance suggests that it is not just those who were made redundant who can be re-hired and furloughed but also those "or stopped working for the employer" meaning the reason for termination is not restricted to redundancy.
- The guidance further adds that even if the re-hired employees are not re-hired until after 19 March they can be placed on furlough so long as the employee was on the employer's payroll as at 28 February and had been notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 Feb 2020.
- As a result of the shift in the qualifying date from 28 Feb to 19 March, the reference salary has also shifted to the salary in the last pay period prior to 19 March 2020.
- Helpfully, the guidance adds that if the employer has calculated the pay based on the 28 Feb 2020 salary, then they can still use this calculation "for your first claim" if it is different to the new calculation.
- Two implications: going forward, the reference salary should be based on the new pay reference (for those on salary), and if it's not too late the first claim should be made based on the amended pay reference and not on 28 Feb 2020 salary.