Following a number of updates from the government on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) we have updated our advice and want to highlight a few of these points and explain what they mean for operators.

Portal

Following a meeting of the parliamentary select committee, existing guidelines have been updated and will be published shortly. The government is aiming to open the portal on 20 April. It will take four to six days following submission for the money to be paid. Employers will be able to submit claims up to 14 days in advance. Claims may be made before the monthly payroll is run in April, which is great news for operators.

 Training

Employees can be asked to complete training while on furlough as long as it doesn’t involve them providing services to, or generating revenue for or on behalf of their organisation. However, when they are doing this training they are entitled to National Minimum Wage (NMW)/National Living Wage (NLW). This means employers would be required to top up an employees’ pay, over what is being support by the CJRS, to ensure for the hours they spend training they are paid NMW/NLW.

This is also the case for apprenticeship programmes (although it is likely you will be topping up to the Apprentice Minimum Wage). It is also worth noting employees are still required to pay the levy and this is not covered by the CJRS.

 Holiday

We are in need of clarity from government on the treatment of holiday for furloughed workers.

UKHospitality has stated holiday does not have to accrue throughout the furlough period, if this is part of the furlough agreement with the employee. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) argues only contractual holiday (anything above the statutory 28 days) can be varied by agreement and the 28 days that employees are entitled to under Working Time Regulations continue to accrue.

 There is also an un-answered question as to whether employees can take holiday when furloughed. Current advice from CIPD is they can but they would be entitled to their full pay so the employer would need to top up to this level. This could be a useful way of employers reducing their liability albeit it presents a current cash challenge.

Calculating pay

For salaried staff this should be their salary on 28 February.

For variable pay staff this should be the higher of their average monthly earnings over the past 12 months or their pay from the comparable month last year. For those employees with less than a year’s service it should be the average monthly earnings while they have been employed with you.

The challenge for many is variable pay workers that are not paid monthly as you will need to interpret the above to give a reasonable assessment of which is the higher. At S4labour we have developed a furlough pay type that will do the calculation on behalf of our customers.

If anyone would like support in calculating furlough pay for their teams then please contact me at Richard@s4labour.co.uk

Richard Hartley is chief product officer at S4Labour 

S4labour is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

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