Furlough Scheme: An Important Change to Eligibility for TUPE Transferees

On 30 April 2020, HMRC published another updated version of its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which will directly affect the ability of employers who inherited employees through the operation of a TUPE transfer between 28 February and 19 March 2020.

Furlough Scheme:  An Important Change to Eligibility for TUPE Transferees

Under the current version of the Employers’ CJRS guidance , an employer can claim under the CJRS in respect of employees who TUPE transferred after 28 February 2020.   However, between 15 April and 30 April 2020, the guidance was updated to state that an employer who inherited employees through the operation of a TUPE transfer prior to 19 March 2020 would be in the same position as any other employer in terms of eligibility.  

That change put employers who inherited employees close to the 19 March eligibility cut-off at a disadvantage because eligibility under the CJRS is subject to the existence of an RTI submission notified to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020. If the inherited employees’ pay was processed for the first time in the March payroll towards the end of the month, which may have been the case where, for example, there was a TUPE transfer during early March, then the cut-off date for an RTI submission of 19 March 2020 may not be met, effectively creating a ‘black hole’ for employees who TUPE transferred between 28 February and 19 March and who weren’t notified to HMRC on an RTI submission before 19 March 2020.

Welcome Furlough News for TUPE Transferees

On 30 April 2020, the Employers’ CJRS guidance was updated to change the relevant date for TUPE transfers from 19 March 2020 back to 28 February 2020 (the date given in the guidance until it was updated on 15 April 2020 to refer to 19 March 2020).

The terms of the Treasury’s Direction, paragraphs 9.1 to 9.3 which still refer to 19 March 2020 as the relevant date, will also need to be amended to give legal force to this change but given the updated guidance for employers on checking eligibility to claim now states that “a new employer is eligible to claim under the CJRS in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred after 28 February 2020 if either the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.” this should now be a formality.

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