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Issues arising out of the UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Author: Edwin Coe LLP

Published: 11 May 2020

The UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), commonly referred to as the furlough scheme, has been designed and made operational in a matter of weeks with quite a lot of thinking by Government ‘on the hoof’. Thus, the guidance has fallen in a piecemeal fashion, making it challenging for employers to liaise with staff and take appropriate action.

The CJRS application portal opened on 20 April 2020 and received applications from more than 140,000 employers on its day of launch. The Government is aiming to provide payment within 6 days of an application. The Government’s approach appears to be pay now, check later and does not require the employer to submit supporting evidence of claims upfront. This will undoubtedly lead to disputes further down the line.

Although the CJRS is unprecedentedly generous, there are strict conditions attached. The Government has said that it will audit employers and clawback payments where the applications were not compliant, particularly those made fraudulently.

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