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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Employers are understandably attaching considerable importance to the Government’s announcement of support in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) is a grant (through reimbursement to employers) of up to 80% of furloughed workers’ wage costs, subject to a cap of £2,500 per month.

The pressure now, however, is on the Government to deliver on the detail if it’s to be effective in preserving jobs as employers struggle in the meanwhile with immediate cash flow demands and a lack of certainty as to quite what amounts will be reimbursed to them and when.

Further details on how to access this and what further information will be required will be released in coming days. A new system for reimbursement will be required so payment is not expected until late April.

Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme brochure goes into more detail, such as it is available, and hopefully provides useful guidance. The important thing is that the JRS is intended to cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020 for a period of at least three months so it should provide some material relief if delivered to employers in time. The aim is that this should be within the next few weeks!

If it isn’t, employers may face some difficult decisions in terms of knowing whether they can afford to embark on the process of furloughing employees, whether they need to find alternative finance in the interim or whether they’ll need to consider other options.

We remain, however, optimistic that this presents a viable option for many employers and employees where the alternative would be laying off and redundancies which can only inhibit a speedy return to growth. For that reason, we encourage all our clients and contacts who act as employers (all are eligible regardless of size or industry, for profit, or not for profit) to consider whether the JRS might work for them, and to continue to seek our advice regarding the financial implications and ongoing developments.

Equally, don’t forget that the furloughing of employees has employment law consequences. We therefore recommend that if you have any doubts as to who might be included, and the proper implementation, your HR or employment law adviser should be consulted.

If you have any queries, or would like to discuss your requirements for the next step, please get in touch with your usual MHA Larking-Gowen contact in the first instance or at enquiry@larking-gowen.co.uk.

John Weston

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