Share this content
19

Furlough

Christmas

Didn't find your answer?

we've had a couple of clients asking about furloughing staff at christmas, basically they want to shut down for a few weeks and claim for that period, citing it will be quiet, they are in tier two and allowed to open for the type of business they are

this would include staff who have not previously been furloughed at all and have worked throughout the pandemic

we've do the furlough claims for them, but this really doesnt sit well with me and there is a bit of a moral dilema

not really sure how best to proceed or what to advise

Replies (19)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
By PandoraSleeps
07th Dec 2020 17:00

It is not allowed.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By OldParkAcct
07th Dec 2020 17:21

If your client is closing for a period due to low demand then no problem with placing staff on furlough. If that period happens to be the few days between Xmas and NY then they may find it more problematic to justify.

Thanks (1)
RLI
By lionofludesch
07th Dec 2020 17:49

It is maybe allowed.

It has been discussed in depth on the half dozen or so previous threads on the subject.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Paul Crowley
07th Dec 2020 18:46

I would suggest client does his own claim and pays attention to the the ABUSIVE bit which will appear on the screen

Thanks (0)
A Putey FACA
By Arthur Putey
07th Dec 2020 18:52

please make it stop

Thanks (1)
avatar
By the_drookit_dug
07th Dec 2020 19:57

Relevant section from HMRC guidance (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus...):

"You can only place employees on furlough if coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting your operations. You should not place employees on furlough just because:
- they are going to be on paid leave
- you usually do less business over the festive period"

Pay attention to the words "just because". If they are generally making use of the scheme, then it's presumably because they have been affected by Covid, so furlough over the festive season is reasonable.

However, instances of people only furloughing employees in December will stick out like a sore thumb - especially if VAT returns show no significant variation from 2019.

I've no doubt there will be many grey-area cases, however generally I'd say that if a business is suffering due to Covid and already using the CJRS scheme, then furlough over Christmas is fine. Instances though where businesses are not really suffering from Covid but have a bright idea to furlough staff over Christmas and save a bit of cash are not on.

Thanks (2)
Replying to the_drookit_dug:
avatar
By Adam12345
07th Dec 2020 20:48

I agree.

Just mention to the client HMRC are publishing details of employers that are using the furlough scheme from 1st December and employees will be able to see if their employer has claimed furlough for them through their personal tax account.

Thanks (2)
Replying to the_drookit_dug:
profile
By yelsnew
08th Dec 2020 09:14

I mostly agree but why reference vat returns.

Isn't it only the employment activities of the employee that need to be affected rather than the business financially.

Theres surely a lot of furloughed staff out there for one reason or another working for businesses that have similar or even higher turnover. Thinking one department excelling while other drops off a cliff etc.

Thanks (0)
Replying to yelsnew:
avatar
By the_drookit_dug
08th Dec 2020 10:40

That's a fair point - it's not clear cut, but in many instances VAT returns might provide prima facie evidence of disrupted operations. Each case must be considered on its own merits.

Thanks (1)
Routemaster image
By tom123
08th Dec 2020 09:45

We are using furlough on a department by department basis. However, we always close for Christmas, so will not be claiming for that period.

If I have no work for a department because of no future sales coming in the pipeline, that seems sensible to me.

As for what my VAT returns may or may not say in the future, who knows.

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
avatar
By the_drookit_dug
08th Dec 2020 10:47

It will be obvious from the VAT returns of, say, a hospitality business with turnover of only 25% of normal that it has been severely affected by Covid.

I agree though that turnover need not be down for a business to have been severely affected.

Thanks (0)
Replying to the_drookit_dug:
RLI
By lionofludesch
08th Dec 2020 10:52

the_drookit_dug wrote:

I agree though that turnover need not be down for a business to have been severely affected.

Are we not using turnover as the only measure under the new, improved rules ?

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
avatar
By the_drookit_dug
08th Dec 2020 11:01

I thought it was just the SEISS grant scheme that focussed on turnover, but I could be wrong.

The ill-fated JSS scheme also had a financial impact test based on VAT returns submitted between 31 August 2020 and 7 November 2020 - not that that is necessarily of relevance to, well, anything really.

But I would definitely see turnover as a strong indicator.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
Routemaster image
By tom123
08th Dec 2020 11:09

In which case, over what period?
Quite possible for me to have a week with virtually zero, famine or feast..

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
profile
By yelsnew
08th Dec 2020 11:20

tom123 wrote:

In which case, over what period?
Quite possible for me to have a week with virtually zero, famine or feast..

Agreed, also, as accountants if you lose a client right now you might show a p&l with £100 missing this month when reality is you've lost potentially £1,000s over the coming years. Lagging effects and all that.

Thanks (0)
Replying to tom123:
avatar
By the_drookit_dug
08th Dec 2020 12:20

Hey, I'm not claiming there's any hard and fast rule regarding turnover. I'm just expressing a view on how you may judge operations to have been severely affected.

If you consider your operations to have been severely affected, then you're eligible to use the furlough scheme.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
profile
By yelsnew
08th Dec 2020 11:17

lionofludesch wrote:

the_drookit_dug wrote:

I agree though that turnover need not be down for a business to have been severely affected.

Are we not using turnover as the only measure under the new, improved rules ?

That's JSS (only larger companies) and SEISS. Nothing in cjrs3 about turnover, in fact it just talks about "employment activities"

Thanks (0)
Replying to yelsnew:
avatar
By the_drookit_dug
08th Dec 2020 11:39

I know, it's all so vague and undefined with CJRS.

I'm merely stating my take on things. A business that has been decimated by Covid and - perhaps having had turnover of 25% of normal throughout 2020 and continuing to suffer - really ought not be be worrying about whether they can claim for employees furloughed over Christmas IMO.

Other cases may not be so clear cut.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By kathyk0410
10th Dec 2020 10:56

A client has forwarded a GOV.uk email they've just received reminding them about the 14/12 deadline - it specifically refers to the Christmas break which I don't think anything did before. Though may have missed it in all the emails. It does confirm everyone's view that its ok if it is in a period of Furlough but not otherwise.

Can I use CJRS to pay for holiday leave?

Your employees can only be placed on furlough if you cannot maintain your workforce because your business has been affected by coronavirus, and not just because they are on paid leave. This also applies during any peak holiday periods in late December and early January. If your employee is flexibly furloughed, any time taken as holiday should be counted as furloughed hours rather than working hours.

If a furloughed employee takes holiday, you should pay them their normal rate of pay in line with the Working Time Regulations. For more information search 'Check if you can claim for your employees' wages' on GOV‌‌‌.UK.

Thanks (1)
Share this content