We now have clarification on the issue of whether employers need to obtain written agreement from workers to be furloughed and cease all work on their behalf as stipulated in the Treasury Direction issued to HMRC last week.
The clarification comes in the form of an email from someone who works within the office of Jim Harra, HMRC Chief Executive and First Permanent Secretary and who is speaking on Mr Harra’s behalf.
The email confirms that employers should follow the HMRC Guidance and that they will treat applications for reimbursement under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in accordance with the Guidance. The crucial paragraph from the email states:-
“…the employer and the employee must reach an agreement and an auditable written record of this agreement must be retained. It does not necessarily follow that the employee will have provided written confirmation that such an agreement was reached in all cases.”
Whilst this doesn’t change the fact that it still directly conflicts with the Treasury Direction it is nonetheless a clear and unequivocal statement from HMRC that they will not deny an employer the ability to reclaim funds simply on the basis the employer had not obtained written agreement from the employee to cease all work for the employer.