Updates to the Furlough Scheme Guidance


23-11-2020

Further updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) guidance were published on 19 November 2020.

In our recent article regarding the guidance and new Treasury Direction (see here) we referenced that deadlines would now apply for submitting CJRS claims. The guidance confirmed that a claim can be made before, during, or after you process your payroll, as long as the claim is submitted by the relevant claim deadline (see table below).

Claim for furlough days in

Claim must be submitted by

November 2020

14 December 2020

December 2020

14 January 2021

January 2021

15 February 2021

February 2021

15 March 2021

March 2021

14 April 2021

The guidance confirmed that a claim may be accepted after the relevant deadline if there was a “reasonable excuse for failing to make a claim in time and you then claimed without delay after the excuse no longer applied”.

Importantly, the guidance has now been updated to contain a list of reasonable excuses, which HMRC may accept:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the claim deadline;
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your claim;
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness, including Coronavirus related illnesses, which prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could claim for you);
  • a period of self-isolation prevented you from making your claim (and no one else could make the claim for you);
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online claim;
  • service issues with HMRC online services prevented you from making your claim;
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you from making your claim;
  • postal delays that you could not have predicted prevented you from making your claim;
  • delays related to a disability you have prevented you from making your claim; or
  • a HMRC error prevented you from making your claim.

In addition to the above, a number of other minor amendments have been made including amended examples on how to calculate furloughed employees wages.

Demi Fawzi-Perrin comments:

“With employers having to constantly adapt to the changing landscape of the pandemic response, there is always the risk that deadlines are missed. Clarification of what constitutes a reasonable excuse is therefore welcome. That said, the scope of what amounts to a reasonable excuse is narrow and employers should therefore take all reasonable steps to ensure the deadlines are met otherwise they risk their claims being invalidated. To discuss the updates to the scheme guidance in more detail, contact a member of the team here”.

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