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TOP Q&A on COVID-19 - 17/04/2020

17 April 2020 • Sarah Medcraf

This week in questions

Here's the most common six questions that we have been asked this week: 1) Can a staff member work for one day to do the wages whilst on furlough. No, if your staff member is on furlough they cannot undertake any work for you. You can take them off furlough after the minimum 3 weeks, pay them a full wage for doing their job and then put the on furlough again (for a further minimum 3 weeks). 2) I have heard my staff are working elsewhere whilst on furlough from me can they do that? Please see below extract from HMRC website

"Once you are on furlough you will not be able to work for your employer. You can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as you’re not:

  • making money for your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer
  • providing services to your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer

If workers are required to, for example, complete training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least their appropriate minimum wage (NLW/NMW/AMW) for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

Whilst furloughed your employer cannot ask you to do work for another linked or associated company.

If your contract allows, you may undertake other employment while your current employer has placed you on furlough, and this will not affect the grant that they can claim under the scheme. You will need to be able to return to work for the employer that has placed you on furlough if they decide to stop furloughing you, and you must be able to undertake any training they require while on furlough. If you take on new employment, you should ensure you complete the starter checklist form with your new employer correctly. If you are furloughed from another employment, you should complete Statement C. Any activities undertaken while on furlough must be in line with the latest Public Health guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Your employer can still make you redundant while you’re on furlough or afterwards.

Your rights as an employee are not affected by being on furlough, including redundancy rights."

3) I hear there has been new funding announced for businesses who currently 'fall through the gaps' - is this my business? Unfortunately, we do not know yet, we are waiting on guidance and criteria for this new fund, I hope that we will be able to provide more clarity at the start of next week. 4) I hear there has been new funding announced, will this help me as I am self employed? Again, as above, we will bring you more clarity when we get it. 5) My business qualifies for the 1 year relief of Non-Domestic Rates (business rates), how do I benefit from this? There has not been any NDR bills issued by Moray Council for businesses in the sectors that will be receiving the relief (hospitality, tourism, retail), but please ensure that you have cancelled any standing order and direct debit payments, just in case. 6) What do I need to do to claim my staff's wages from HMRC? The HMRC portal is due to go live on Monday (20th), we've been advised that you will need the following information to make a claim:
  • your ePAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code
  • your contact name
  • your phone number
FYI - they have also extended the scheme to include employees who started (and were registered on PAYE) before the 18th March (was 28th February)

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