25 November 2020

Time Limits for Filing Furlough Claims

Tom Martin Solicitor

In response to the original outbreak of COVID-19 in March, and the impact it had on UK businesses, the Government introduced their Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The CJRS was due to end on 31 October 2020, but following the announcement of a month-long national lockdown, the Government has extended the scheme until March 2021. Employers can access funding support to pay their employees under the CJRS through an online portal operated by HMRC.

Under the extension to the CJRS, new tighter rules have been put in place for when a claim must be submitted through the portal. The new restrictions mean that you must bring a claim within 14 days of the end of the month to which the claim relates.

Therefore, for any claims for payments relating to any day in November, a claim must have been submitted by 14 December. The below table illustrates how this will work in the months following:

Claim for any days in…

Claim must be submitted by…

December 2020

14 January 2021

January 2021

15 February 2021

February 2021

15 March 2021

March 2021

14 April 2021

The only exception to this rule is where there is a “reasonable excuse for failing to make a claim in time”. The guidance submitted by the Government following the announcement of the extension confirms what may be considered a “reasonable excuse”. Examples are:

  • The death of a partner or close relative in close proximity to the deadline;

  • An unexpected stay in hospital which prevented compliance with the deadline;

  • A period of illness or self-isolation, where there was nobody else to submit the claim;

  • A computer malfunction prevented the claim being made;

  • Fire, flood or theft; or

  • An error by HMRC.

This is an in-exhaustive list, and so other reasons may well be deemed reasonable. Equally, these are only guidance as to what “may” be reasonable, and so each case will be determined on its own facts. Claims should therefore be dealt with as soon as possible to avoid these types of situation arising and preventing compliance with the new deadlines.

Should you require any assistance with this, or have any other questions about the scheme generally, please contact one of our employment law experts.

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