Can employers bring back employees who were made redundant before the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced, and make a claim for them under the scheme?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced on 20 March 2020. Claims under the scheme can be backdated to 1 March 2020.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidance on the scheme states that employees who were made redundant after 28 February 2020 are covered by the scheme if they are rehired by their employer. The scheme also covers employees whose employment terminated for a reason other than redundancy.

The general position for eligibility for the employer to make a claim under the scheme is that the employee must have been on the payroll on 19 March 2020. However, if an employee was on the payroll on 28 February 2020 and subsequently made redundant, the employer can rehire them, designate them as furloughed, and make a backdated claim for their wages under the scheme. This is the case even if they are rehired after 19 March 2020. The employer must have made a real time information (RTI) submission to HMRC in respect of the employee on or before 28 February 2020.

Employees who were made redundant before 28 February 2020 are not covered under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Where an employee has worked for a number of employers at different times, a previous employer cannot rehire the employee and make a claim for them under the scheme if they have already been furloughed by their new employer.