A further version of the Guidance: Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme [CJRS] was issued yesterday which clarified a significant issue which was borne from the Treasury Direction to HMRC of last week.


The Direction of last week stated:


‘An employee has been instructed by the employer to cease all work in relation to their employment only if the employer and employee have agreed in writing (which may be in an electronic form such as an email) that the employee will cease all work in relation to their employment.’


This Direction appeared to make it clear that to comply with the requirements of the CJRS a written agreement needed to be in existence between the Employer and Employee and, further, that the agreement needed to state that employee will cease all work in relation to their employment.


However this point has now be re-clarified by a further revision of the above Guidance which states:
“To be eligible for the grant employers must confirm in writing to their employee confirming that they have been furloughed. If this is done in a way that is consistent with employment law, that consent is valid for the purposes of claiming the CJRS. There needs to be a written record, but the employee does not have to provide a written response. A record of this communication must be kept for five years.”


Whilst a Direction outguns a Guidance it would now appear that the HMRC, by its latest revision, is demonstrating how it will interpret and apply what would appear to be a contrary position set out in the Direction. The upshot of which is that there does not appear to be a requirement for a written agreement from an Employee stating that they will stay at home and cease all work in relation to their employment in order to receive reimbursement under the CJRS, however this is quite different from saying there does not need to be written confirmation regarding an employee being placed on furlough (there does) or that an employee can therefore undertake work for the employee whilst at home which the Guidance unequivocally precludes.


For the latest guidance: HMRC Guidance.