Claiming the F Money
Sentient Group Ltd
Info Update 2020/18                                                         Issue Date: 09/04/2020
Claiming the 'F' Money - the latest as at 9th April

To those of you who remember the words of Sir Bob Geldof during another global crises, that led to Live Aid in 1986, we make no excuse for our parody… is clearly a situation where we are all fighting to beat the impact of the virus – both on individuals and on our places of work. Keep up the good work.

To that end, further details are emerging about the long-awaited HRMC Online portal employers can use to access the 80% of salary for those persons placed on furlough.

At a meeting between the HMRC and parliamentary committee it appears the following information emerged on the portal.
  • Live testing started on Tuesday this week
  • The portal will be available from the 20th April.
  • First payments are to be made by 30th April and claims should be paid 4-6 days after submission to allow time for checking for obvious fraud.
  • The portal is expected to handle 450,000 claims per hour
  • Businesses can apply weekly or monthly for the salary but only one claim per pay period is allowed.
  • A business can claim 14 days ahead, so if a pay period goes to 30th of the April, and it is open from 20th then you can put your claim .

Anti-fraud measures
HMRC confirmed that there will be a hotline in place for employees to report employers. If there is evidence of an employer making furloughed people work, HMRC will not service any claims for them. In the future, they will retrospectively check claims. Evidence of furlough must be kept for 5 years. Also, HMRC reports, fraudulent claims could result in criminal proceedings being considered.

Annual leave and Furlough
On the issue of Annual leave and furlough with Easter upon us we still have no firm guidance on this issue but the following suggests holiday can be used during Furlough provided it is paid at full holiday pay rate –

ACAS guidance on the issue has altered and their web site now states

Using holiday
In most situations, employees and workers should use their paid holiday (‘statutory annual leave’) in their current leave year. This is 5.6 weeks in the UK.
This is important because taking holiday helps people:
  • get enough rest
  • keep healthy (physically and mentally)
If an employee or worker is temporarily sent home because there’s no work and the employer intends to claim for their wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ('furloughed'), they can still request and take their holiday in the usual way. This includes bank holidays.
Employees and workers must get their usual pay in full, for any holidays they take.

Also, we have heard that in response to an online query regarding Easter bank holiday, an HMRC customer support officer responded that – “if an employee is on holiday or has a scheduled bank holiday on furlough, they are entitled to still receive this holiday. Employers must ensure any employee on holiday or on a bank holiday is paid their full salary whilst on holiday.”

Whilst this looks like being on holiday during Furlough wont break the furlough period, formal word on this is yet to come. Also, what is not clear is whether you can claim the 80% for the holiday period. We continue to monitor this aspect of the guidance and report when we know more.

Employees TUPE’d in after 28th Feb 2020
Finally, the issue of employees who have recently transferred to a new employer under TUPE Regulations after 28th February and whether they can be furloughed. The issue appears to be that as the employee’s service transfers to the new employer they should transfer however they may not be on the new employers payroll until they transfer and if that is after 28/2. This would mean they do not qualify to be furloughed! HOWEVER, activity in the twittersphere and e-mails between MP’s and HM Treasury have said that those put on your payroll after 28th Feb and who have TUPE’d in will be covered by ‘F’ Rules.

Again, we await developments and will keep you all appraised.  There's a good chance that this will be out-of-date by Tuesday.  
The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of the law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.
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