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HMRC have changed the eligibility criteria for the Scheme. The following two points are the main changes:

  • You can claim for employees that were employed as of the 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying HMRC of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020
  • Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough

Other new points in the guidance are:

  • Employers are entitled to furlough employees who are being shielded or off long term sick.
  • Employers can furlough short term illness/self-isolation staff if they deem this to be in the interest of the business
  • Employees who are unable to work because they are shielding in line with public health guidance can be furloughed
  • Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus can be furloughed

What further do we know about making a claim? This has been expanded and we interpret these changes as a clear indication that HMRC will and now can check and police claims.

You now need the following:

  • Your employer PAYE reference number
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • National insurance numbers for the furloughed
  • Names of the furloughed employees
  • Payroll number (optional)
  • The Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayers Reference or Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number
  • The claim period start and end date
  • The amount claimed
  • Your bank account and sort code
  • Your contact name
  • Your contact number

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of the claim.

We are expecting HMRC checks on these claims, so it is important you keep all records relating and substantiating your claims.

We are informing all our clients that specialist HR advice is sought to ensure the contractual and furloughing process has been thoroughly followed. We fully expect that not all clients will follow our advice. For these clients, we are trying to ensure all have written notice and employee consent of the furlough.

The portal is expected to live by 20 April.

We are still unclear about numerous points but we will try and update you as soon as we can.

Please contact the team for support whenever required.