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Qualifying for the coronavirus job retention scheme


Are you eligible?


In this article you’ll be able to find out whether you qualify and also how much can be claimed by any employer, if the necessity arises because of coronavirus to place an employee on temporary leave. If you and your employer are in agreement, then it may be possible to be retained on the payroll of your company. Some companies will simply not be able to operate normally and therefore there is no work available because of the current coronavirus problem. Under the coronavirus job retention scheme it may be possible for your employer to pay as much as 80% of your normal wage up to a monthly maximum of 2500 pound. This will simply mean that you remain in the employment of your company and will still be responsible for your taxes. While on temporary leave you’re not allowed to do any work for your company. There is a collective national effort to do as much as possible to protect people’s jobs as best as possible and the coronavirus job retention scheme is a part of those plans. Naturally just as with any other government aid there’ll always be illegal activity and such things should be reported to HMRC. This is because illegal activities place an unnecessary burden on the provision of public services which makes it difficult to protect people's standards of living. Do not hesitate to report any abuses of the scheme even if they are perpetrated by your employer. If your employer is not paying you after they have claimed on your behalf and after you’ve been placed on temporary leave, then you should immediately report such conduct.


Find out if you qualify


It will always be the responsibility of the employer to approach the job retention scheme on your behalf and naturally they are then responsible to pay employees whatever is due to them. The job retention scheme cannot be approached by an employee. Always remember that it should be a mutual agreement between employer and employee when it comes to temporary leave. Employees should also address the issue of claims with the employer. In some cases, the company and a trade union may reach an agreement which can benefit employees. Nevertheless, when negotiations have been completed employees should receive confirmation in writing to the effect that they have been placed on temporary leave which then qualifies them to claim against the job retention scheme. When confirmations are delayed it is important to contact your employer. If under any circumstances, there are any doubts whether a claim has been made on your behalf you should contact your employer as soon as possible. It is simply not possible for HMRC to provide information in relation to individual applications. The majority of employees which are making use of a UK bank account and which are on a UK payroll will be eligible to claim. However, an important condition is that such a person should have been employed on 19 March 2020. They should have been on a company’s PAYE pay list before 19 March 2020.


Additional terms and conditions


Some people might have been employed on 28 February 2020 but by 19 March 2020 they may not have been. There are a wide range of employment contracts, among which are temporary contracts and also zero hour contracts and people can be placed on temporary leave under the new relief scheme even if they are foreign nationals. People who are self-employed will not be eligible to receive compensation from the scheme. Other processes are available such as the self-employment income support scheme. Many people are in self-isolation because of coronavirus while others are on sick leave and such individuals will have to make contact with their employer to discuss whether they are eligible to be placed on temporary leave. Under certain conditions people who are self-isolating or on sick leave could benefit from statutory sick pay. It should be understood that an employer can place anyone on temporary leave and when this happens a person will no longer be eligible to receive sick pay but even then they should always be treated in the same manner as any other employee which have been placed on temporary leave.

There are people who are in self-isolation in compliance with public health guidance and there are also those who are staying with infected individuals and are therefore in enforced isolation. Many of these people are not able to work from home, as such individuals also should negotiate with their employer regarding the issue of temporary leave. For those who are simply not able to work, not even from home for a variety of reasons in relation to coronavirus should also negotiate with employers regarding temporary leave. Because the schools are closed as well as many childcare facilities these people have no other choice but to put their children first. It should be understood that people will be eligible to benefit from the relief grant from the first day on which they are placed on temporary leave and such benefits can be backdated to 1 March 2020.


What about those who were retrenched after 28 February 2020?


Under certain conditions an employer could agree to reemployment where after you can be placed on furlough. When this happens the company will still be able to claim a grant which will cover as much as 80% of your normal wages. This will apply from the date on which your furlough has started and you will qualify for a maximum amount of 2500 pounds a month. Such a grant will only apply to you if you have stopped working or were retrenched by the company after 28 February 2020. Even those people who were not reemployed until after 19 March 2020 may still qualify. The condition is that you should have been on a company’s payroll on or before 28 February 2020. The necessary paperwork in the form of a RTI submission notifying payment in your name should have been made to HMRC and this should have been received before 28 February 2020.


What about fixed term contracts


There are those who have been retrenched and who stopped working for a company after 19 March 2020. Once again it is possible that a company could agree to reemployment where after an individual can be placed on furlough. In these conditions it is also possible to claim a grant which can cover as much as 80% of normal wages. This will apply from the date on which an individual was actually placed on furlough and they will be eligible to receive a monthly amount of 2500 pounds. The condition is that you should have been retrenched from that company after 19 March 2020 but you should have been in the employment of that company on 19 March 2020 and the employee should have been on the company payroll before 19 March 2020. HMRC should have received a RTI submission notifying payment in your name on or before 19 March 2020.


Anyone who has been on a fixed term contract can be reemployed by a company where after they can be placed on furlough where after the necessary claims can be made against the relief scheme providing that your contract had expired after 28 February 2020 and in such case a RTI payment submission for you should have been received by HMRC before or on 28 February 2020. Alternatively, your contract should have expired after 19 March 2020 and once again and RTI payment submission should have reached HMRC before or on 19 March 2020. In the event that a person’s fixed term contract has not yet expired then it is possible for a company to renew or to extend such a fixed term contract. If an RTI payment submission has been received by HMRC then the employer can make the relevant claim if HMRC notification occurred before 19 March 2020. There may also be certain people who have started and ended a fixed term contract between the dates of 28 February 2020 and 19 March 2020 and such people will unfortunately not qualify for the relief scheme. This condition will not only affect fixed term contract people but it will also apply to all other employment contracts.


More than one job?


For those who have more than one job they have the option of being placed on furlough by one employer while they continue to do work for another company. For those who have been placed on furlough by more than one company will actually receive separate payments from each individual company. Furthermore, 80% of your normal wage condition will apply to each job separately up to a maximum wage of 2500 pound. For those who had been employed by more than one employer over the past year but have only been in the employment of one of them at any point in time and therefore when such a person is being furloughed by the current company then they cannot simultaneously be furloughed by a previous place of employment.


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