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On 13 November 2020, HM Treasury published The Coronavirus Act 2020 Functions of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) Direction. This is the fourth Treasury Direction in relation to the operation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

All of the Treasury Directions provide the legal framework for the CJRS.  Although the government have confirmed the CJRS will be in place until 31 March 2021, these directions deal with the period to 31 Jan 2021.

The Treasury Direction confirms that the CJRS is extended from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021, and sets out the basis upon which the extended scheme will operate. This includes:

  • Eligibility
  • Flexible Furlough
  • Claim Periods
  • Reference Salaries
  • Business Succession
  • Time Limits for Making Claims
  • Publication of Claimant Details

The Treasury Direction also confirms that the Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus, which was due to be paid in February 2021, has been withdrawn.

Notice Periods and Unpaid Leave

Employers cannot claim under the CJRS for employees who are serving notice between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021. This includes both statutory and contractual notice periods and will apply to employees who are serving notice of retirement or resignation.

Employers are also unable to claim for employees who are taking unpaid sabbatical or other periods of unpaid leave if this occurs between 1 November 2020 and 31 January 2021.

Publication of Employer Information

HMRC must publish information about employers who receive payments under the CJRS, for the following claim periods:

  • December 2020; or
  • January 2021.

The employer information that must be published will include:

  • The name of the employer or the qualifying PAYE scheme
  • The company reference number (if any) 
  • The amount of the CJRS claim made by the employer

Exceptions are available for employers who are able to show that the publication of such information would expose employees to ‘serious risk of violence or intimidation’.

The main focus of the fourth Treasury Direction is the operation of the CJRS for the period up to and including 31 January 2021. It is anticipated that a further Treasury Direction will be issued which addresses the operation of the CJRS for the period commencing 1 February 2021.

The full Treasury direction can be found here.

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