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CJRS while on the bench with ad-hoc work

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    CJRS while on the bench with ad-hoc work

    Since before the start of Covid I have been on the bench, taking a break, although of course still conducting duties as director of MyCo.

    As I was already not fee earning (and not actively seeking), it may be argued that MyCo was largely unaffected by Covid, although who knows about opportunities lost. In fact I did pick up a few days ad-hoc work for a client during May. I have claimed CJRS for the period 1/3/20 - 31/8/20, minus the days worked.

    The rules changed from July to allow flexible working, which muddies things a little. The basis for a claim is now based on % worked of "contracted hours", that being kind of a notional concept in my case. Technically, time "worked" is not limited to fee earning hours either, it is any time providing service to MyCo other than statutory filing.

    I've since had a client meeting (not billed for) and exchange of emails discussing some potential work. Also the company accounts will show purchase of IT kit (having discovered that my existing setup was inadequate for 'zoom'ing), so there is evidence of 'work' as such.

    I was planning to put in a claim for Sept/Oct, minus 1 day for misc activities.

    Tbh, the claiming while "on the bench" thing has been a nagging doubt. Interested in hearing people's views on this.

    #2
    On the point about being benched, I think you're probably fine on that front. What is the practical difference between being out of contract and unable to secure work and having work not offered while in contract? I think both qualify.

    However, my understanding is that you cannot do *any* work to generate commercial revenue or provide services to or on behalf of the company during the furlough period. So you may have screwed yourself on that front (during any audit that is probably not likely to happen), even if only working for a few days.

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      #3
      I don't see any issue personally. The claim for the furloughed period was less days worked and I think there's a sensible approach being taken towards the next claim.

      Keep good records in case of any enquiry.
      Last edited by ladymuck; 31 October 2020, 14:09. Reason: Fat fingered posting before I'd finished my wafflings

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        #4
        Originally posted by ladymuck View Post
        The claim for the furloughed period was less days worked.
        FWIW, I don't think the CJRS works like that. I don't think you can decide to work some days and not other days and only claim for the days not worked. I think any productive work is disallowed (company admin related to accounts and statutory responsibilities etc. is absolutely fine). The CJRS isn't like the self-employed scheme where productive work is permitted. The risk of being audited and caught is probably low and perhaps they would be lenient and not disallow the whole claim, but that's a separate issue.

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          #5
          I just think it's a pragmatic approach but, yes, whether it's entirely within the rulez is different.

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            #6
            Originally posted by jamesbrown View Post
            my understanding is that you cannot do *any* work to generate commercial revenue or provide services to or on behalf of the company during the furlough period.
            That's my understanding too. Some commentators were stretching this to include director's duty to promote the company, but I'm stopping short of that. I'm probably over-thinking it. In fact I know I'm over-thinking it. And yes, HMRC have ever so bigger things to concern themselves with.

            However the rules changed mid-scheme :-

            For March - June, you could un-furlough for any number of days, just so long as the furlough periods were each at least 3 weeks. This, albeit blunt approach, was clear-cut. My accountant suggested to pro-rata based on days fuloughed / calendar days in month.

            For July - October, flexible working was introduced, with the notion, alien to me, of "normal contracted hours". The idea being that you can bring back employees part-time, not even for whole days.

            So I can say allow a day per month to cover misc activities (it means the client meeting 'cost' a few quid, but hey that's profit and loss) and I think this is within the rules. The issue is really what I can say in good faith about my normal contracted hours needed for the computation.

            Originally posted by ladymuck View Post
            Keep good records in case of any enquiry.
            I shall be printing off this thread and using it in my defence.
            Last edited by Contreras; 31 October 2020, 17:22.

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              #7
              Hmm, not sure about that. Do you have a link to the guidance on that? Yes, agree, regarding the rules from 1 July, but you mentioned May. I thought unfurlough in V1 was a permanent thing and you couldn’t move back in.

              Anyway, I guess your main Q was about being benched and I think you’re fine on that front.

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                #8
                Originally posted by jamesbrown View Post
                Hmm, not sure about that. Do you have a link to the guidance on that?
                Any employees you place on furlough must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. When they return to work, they must be taken off furlough. Employees can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. Each period of furlough can be extended by any amount of time whilst the employee is on furlough.
                LINK - click on "Agreeing to furlough employees" and scroll down to "Using minimum furlough periods".

                Until 1 July 2020, any employees you place on furlough must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. When they return to work, they must be taken off furlough. Employees can be furloughed more than once, but they must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks each time they are furloughed.

                From 1 July, agreed flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.
                LINK - click on "Agreeing to furlough employees" and scroll down to "Using minimum furlough periods".

                What isn't clear is if this continues to be possible after 1 July.
                Last edited by Contreras; 31 October 2020, 23:53.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by jamesbrown View Post
                  Yes, agree, regarding the rules from 1 July, but you mentioned May.
                  Yes, un-furloughed for a period during May.

                  June/July/August - furloughed.

                  September - had a client video call, plus bought a new PC and other kit (webcam, etc.) through the company. Though sadly, not all on the same day!

                  Having just tried to make a claim for Flexible Furlough, I can report that the HMRC portal asks for "usual hours", and presumably it will want "actual hours", though I quit before that point. I'm uncomfortable with this.

                  Standard furlough, to me now seems better to demonstrate good faith. Need to check though if it's still permitted to have multiple furlough periods with a day off between.

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                    #10
                    I've been on the bench for a while now. I don't have any support.

                    I'm going to apply for this. Who else did? I'd like to get it from september.

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