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HMRC issues new guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

14 April 2020: HMRC has provided further clarifications on the eligibility of TUPE staff, those on long-term sick leave and those returning from parental leave, in its latest guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The third version of HMRC’s guidance on the grants available under the CJRS was published on 9 April. It gives more details on how the scheme will interact with sick pay and the ability of tax agents to make claims for their clients, as well as clarifying the treatment of staff returning from statutory leave or affected by TUPE.

The new documents confirm some of the Tax Faculty’s understanding as outlined in The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: furlough guidance published on 26 March 2020, as well as providing additional information. The main changes are summarised below and should be read in conjunction with our earlier guide.

Interaction with sick pay

The section on the interaction with sick pay has been expanded

  • The CJRS is not intended for short-term absences due to sickness or self-isolation, but if there are business reasons an employee may be moved from sick pay to furlough pay.
  • Employees who are being shielded or who are on long-term sick leave can be furloughed with the grant being claimed.
  • Employees who become sick while on furlough can be kept on furlough pay, but must be paid at least statutory sick pay.
  • Employers can claim from both the CJRS and the statutory sick pay rebate scheme for the same employee, but not for the same period of time.

Returning from statutory sick leave

There is a new section on dealing with those returning from statutory leave, such as maternity or paternity leave. It confirms that claims for those returning after 28 February 2020 should be based on their salary, rather than the pay they received while on statutory leave.

TUPE and payroll consolidation

New employers are eligible to claim under the CJRS in respect of employees of a previous business transferred after 28 February 2020, if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

If a group of companies transfers employees from multiple payroll schemes into a new consolidated scheme after 28 February 2020 the new scheme will qualify for the CJRS.

Agents

Agents authorised to act for PAYE purposes will be able to make claims on behalf of clients. The Tax Faculty has sought further clarification on the type of authorisation required: 64-8, FBI2 and online agent authorisation. Unauthorised agents (file-only agents) who can file RTI returns will not be able to make claims on behalf of clients.

Tax treatment of grant

Individuals not in business with employees, such as nannies or domestic staff, are not taxable on CJRS grants.

Download HMRC's guidance in full