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Ask ICAS webinar 4: Coronavirus – latest updates and hot topics

Some key takeaways from the fourth Ask ICAS webinar which looked at some of the latest COVID-19 developments and hot topics.

This webinar, and the accompanying slides, are now available to view on-demand.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme latest updates

Justine Riccomini, Head of Tax (Employment taxes, Scottish taxes and Tax community) provided an update on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS).

Key points on JRS and furlough:

This webinar, and the accompanying slides, are now available to view on-demand.

  • The scheme was announced by the Chancellor on 20 March 2020
  • Any empolyer “severely affected” by C-19 qualifies for government funding
  • The portal went live at 8am on 20 April 2020. HMRC has stated funding will be available no more than 6 working days after the application is received
  • The scheme is now based on the employees in post on 19 March 2020
  • The scheme has been extended to 30 June 2020 – for now
  • Employer NICs and basic level pensions auto-enrolment contributions are also recoverable
  • Furlough must be for a minimum of three weeks to allows for flexibility in the workforce
  • Workforce planning and business cash flow projections are key to the success of the scheme
  • Robust decision-making audit trails are recommended to protect employers who make claims
  • HMRC retains the right to make checks on any claims for assistance
    Recent updates
  • For most employers, the scheme is working
  • For many, expectations have thus far been met/exceeded
  • The Pensions regulator has issued some guidance – which helps in relation to pension payments and salary sacrifice schemes
  • HMRC processed nearly 140,000 claims in the first day for 1,000,000 employees
  • An online whistleblowing facility has been set up
  • New guidance is available on Employment Allowance (EA)

Dawn Dickson, Partner, HR and Employment, Evershed Sutherland discuss the JRS from an employment law perspective

Key points on JRS, furlough and sickness

  • Nature and purpose of the furlough scheme “…incurring costs of employment in respect of furloughed employees arising from the health, social and economic emergency in the United Kingdom resulting from coronavirus and coronavirus disease…”
  • Employer choice to furlough (subject to agreement etc.)
  • Employee must get at least Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if furloughed
  • Where SSP only not going to be an issue
  • Where employer sick pay more favourable than furlough.

Details of how to register for next week’s Ask ICAS webinar will be available soon.

This content was originally published by ICAS. You can read it here.