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SMP and Furlough claim

Can we claim Furolough & SMP

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Hi all,

I have a client who has put 1 employee on furlough since April 20. This employee has gone on maternity leave in May 21. I want to check whether it is possible to claim SMP and furlough for this employee? Or are we allowed to claim only 1 out of these 2. I looked up on HMRC website but it's very confusing and not helpful at all.

Any help and pointers will be appreciated.

Many thanks

Replies (7)

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By Moonbeam
21st Jul 2021 18:53

Before the pandemic, you could only have claimed SMP.

I'm puzzled why you think you would be entitled to furlough as well. That would be a nonsense, since the employee isn't available for work, and you can claim back 92% of their SMP anyway.

Thanks (1)
By DKB-Sheffield
21st Jul 2021 21:07

Simple answer... NO!

Detailed answer...

You are suggesting claiming furlough (80%) of the employee's wage, SMP (92% of the employee's SMP) AND possibly Small Employer's Rebate (11% of SMP) if the businesd qualifies. In the first 6 weeks of Maternity, you would be claiming 172.7% of an employee's wage.

Statutory absence is absence whether SSL, SML, SPL, SAL... Where an employee is absent on Statutory leave, they are not furloughed. They cannit be both! hence CJRS is not available and must not be claimed (particularly where Statutory Leave funding is also claimed).

Ignoring "furlough"... under normal conditions, where an employee was sick whilst on holiday, would you pay holiday pay AND SSP? If an employee was on Maternity Leave would you pay them SMP AND their normal wage?

Furthermore, if the employee were to "return to employment" (i.e. back to furlough) this will likely result in a break and/ or the cessation of SML and SMP entitlement.

My concern however is... if the employee went on SML in May, and as the CJRS windows for May and June are now closed, and as this question has only just been posed, has a claim already been made under CJRS for those months? If so, a repayment will be required!

Thanks (1)
Replying to DKB-Sheffield:
By lionofludesch
21st Jul 2021 23:21

You're right about the 103% rebate. But not how it's made up.

Thanks (0)
Replying to lionofludesch:
By DKB-Sheffield
22nd Jul 2021 16:32

Thank you lionofludesch for the correction. It was the result of trying to give an overcomplicated, yet simplified, "fag packet" response - on the fly!

Correction to my post... it's not 92% plus 11% NI rebate! It's 92% (or 103% for qualifying small employers). I'll not complicate matters further by going into SMP computations.

However, the answer to the OP is still "NO" for the reasons given by me and others!

Many thanks once again!

Thanks (0)
By Hugo Fair
22nd Jul 2021 10:26

1. I hope your client did not "put 1 employee on furlough since April 2020", which sounds like a decision only made by the employer. Furlough is an employment contract variation that should be agreed and signed for by both parties in writing.

2. "I want to check whether it is possible to claim SMP and furlough for this employee?"
a) no-one can 'claim furlough' ... a furloughed employee is one of the prerequisites for an employer to make a CJRS claim (from HMRC);
b) there are many other prerequisites for each claim, including that during the period of claim the employee would have been paid to work if that hadn't been prevented from happening (in a number of possible ways) by the impact of covid-19;
c) expecting birth of a child has never previously been considered as an impact of covid-19 and is unlikely to be accepted as such by HMRC.

3. When "This employee (went) on maternity leave in May 21", she was no longer being prevented from work by any direct or indirect impact of covid-19 ... so any CJRS claim for that period would be invalid (in fact fraudulent).

That is my ABC (or rather 123) of the logic as to why you can "claim only 1 out of these 2" - specifically CJRS, then SMP, then (possibly) CJRS ... although the scheme is planned to have ended by then.

If you want to look up things on the "HMRC website" (actually GOV.UK), then you could try reading:
* ... in particular the sections headed "If your employee is on or has recently returned from leave".

Thanks (2)
Replying to Hugo Fair:
By JB101
23rd Jul 2021 09:32

Thank goodness for point 2c. If that was one of the effects of Covid-19 the world would really be in a mess!!

Thanks (0)
By kestrepo
22nd Jul 2021 10:38

Sorry but you cannot claim SMP and CJRS at the same time.

Also I think it is worth mentioning that you will need to make sure that the maternity pay is handled at the correct rate especially the Average Weekly Earning (AWE).

The link below is to HMRC guidance specifically written with Maternity Pay and the CJRS in mind - coincidently I was reading it yesterday as we are dealing with a very similar enquiry:

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