Last night the government updated its twelve guidance notes on furlough to explain the rules and processes organisations have to follow to claim under the extended furlough scheme.
The 'check which employees you can put on furlough to use the CJRS' guidance contains advice about options open to employers who have already made redundancies. As we indicated in our previous blog you can, if you wish to, re-employ anyone you've made redundant and furlough them provided they were still employed and were on your payroll on 23 September 2020.
However, the guidance goes on to say:
'The government is reviewing whether employers should be eligible to claim for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods and will change the approach for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, with further guidance published in late November.'
This suggests that the rules about making furloughed staff redundant (and using the furlough grant to contribute to the costs of funding their notice period) will, in fact, change soon. If you are likely to make redundancies over the next few weeks or months, you may need to rethink your strategy now because it looks as though you'll need to serve notice before 1 December if you want to benefit from the furlough grant. That doesn't give you much time if you also need to collectively consult.
But a further word of caution. Given the wording of that paragraph, it's possible that, even if you serve notice before the end of this month, you won't be able to claim for anyone that's already under notice when submitting claims for the period from 1 December. The government has a record of providing guidance at the last minute and you may not get much (if any) advance notice of what the government intends to do. We'll let you know as soon as the guidance is out.
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