Following release of the promised detailed guidelines for the revised Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) on Friday night, Nigel Morris, employment tax director at MHA MacIntyre Hudson, warns businesses face huge administration challenges

“The furlough scheme is a lifeline for many businesses, but could cause substantial record-keeping problems. Administration of claims will be time-consuming, and employers must get to grips with weekly reporting and the need for multiple claims if their payroll doesn’t follow a calendar month. For sectors like hospitality, defining an employees’ ‘normal hours’ is challenging, as staff shifts and rotas can change on a daily or weekly basis

“The rules apply to all full-time, part-time and shift workers and state companies can’t claim for more employees than a previous period – unless adding staff returning from statutory parental leave. HMRC has made it clear it will take action against any company abusing the scheme. Well-meaning businesses could easily fall foul of the guidelines either accidentally or through a lack of resources.

“Employers must clearly communicate with employees how they will be paid when they are working and when on furlough. Employees can report any concerns they have over the handling of their pay to the HMRC fraud hotline. Businesses must ensure there is a mutual understanding from the outset.”