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Can directors, partners or those working under umbrella companies be furloughed?

Yes. The updated government guidance has confirmed that office holders (including company directors), salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) individuals working under umbrella companies (including agency workers) and individuals who are classified as ‘workers’ rather than employees can be furloughed but only to the extent that they are paid via PAYE. Therefore director’s fees can be claimed (subject to the cap) but dividends are excluded, as are bonuses and commission payments.

Those who are paid annual are now eligible to make a claim, subject to meeting the remaining requirements. This includes being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020 which relates to a payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year.

The decision to furlough a director or office holder should be adopted as a formal decision of the company or LLP which should be minuted and notified in writing.

Company directors can only undertake work to fulfil a duty or other obligation arising from an Act of Parliament relating to the filing of company accounts or provision of other information relating to the administration of the director’s company while furloughed and they cannot carry out work that would generate revenue or perform services to or on behalf of their company. This also applies to salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company (PSC).

Related FAQs

What criteria will HMRC use to assess applications for furlough from publicly funded organisations?

The government released further clarification on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 4 April. The wording referred to concerning public sector organisations and organisations receiving public funding remains the same.

The revised guidance does provide a helpful insight into how HMRC will deal with applications made to it for assistance under the scheme. It appears that there won’t be a particularly forensic approach adopted by HMRC. The guidance says you can furlough staff if you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus.

It goes on to say that all employers are eligible to claim under the scheme and the government recognises different businesses/organisations will face different impacts from coronavirus. The need to demonstrate the impact of coronavirus on your business/organisation is not one of the criteria businesses/organisations are going to need to satisfy, so the government does not appear to intend to set a specific test to determine if a business/organisation is “severely impacted by coronavirus”. It is hoped that this should provide additional comfort to publicly funded organisations facing significant restrictions to their operations during the Covid-19 crisis.

Can colleagues meet outside of work during the national lockdown?

Yes, but only for work purposes and where it is unreasonable to do so from home. Work colleagues cannot meet to socialise.

I pay child maintenance and half of my children's private school fees to my ex-partner but I have been placed on Furlough, with no top-up from my employer, so my income has dropped significantly. Is there anything I can do?

a. You should first try and discuss this with your ex-partner, either directly or through a Solicitor, to see whether an amicable agreement can be reached.

If you contribute to private school fees voluntarily, it is a matter for you and your ex-partner to resolve the issue with the school, depending whose name is on the bills. You may need to speak to the children’s school to see whether they can offer any reductions or remedies in relation to those payments. If you contribute to the school fees as part of a Court Order, you will need to ensure you do not breach the Order and you may need to consider applying for a variation of the Order if you can no longer afford the payments or reach a compromise agreement with your ex-partner.

You can use the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) calculator (https://www.gov.uk/calculate-child-maintenance) to recalculate your child maintenance obligations using your amended income. This recalculation can then be used in your discussions and you can formally instruct the CMS to verify that calculation if you and your ex-partner cannot reach an agreement about it. If you have already formally involved the CMS, they do carry out an annual review of child maintenance payments, however, they will also recalculate payments outside of the review period where there has been a change in income of 25% or more. We expect the CMS will be experiencing a high volume of enquiries at the present time so anticipate there may be delays in them assisting.

The position on child maintenance payments included in a Court Order are slightly more complicated and how you approach this will depend on how much time has passed since the date of the Order.

What other financial resources are available for charities?

Charities can also take advantage of the existing measures the Government has already put in place including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year and furloughing staff where possible with the Government paying 80% of their wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – see our People and Employment FAQ’s and our Premise and Property FAQ’s.

I'm self-isolating and understand that it takes some time to get a Lasting Power of Attorney registered. What can I do in the meantime to enable someone else to operate my bank account and pay my bills?

The Office of the Public Guardian is continuing to accept applications to register Lasting Powers of Attorney but their usual estimated timescale of eight to ten weeks is likely to be affected by the current situation.

Consequently, an alternative or interim measure if you need something quickly is to execute a General Power of Attorney to authorise someone to act as your Attorney to undertake day to day financial transactions for you. The General Power of Appointment only needs to be executed by you in the presence of a witness (not the Attorney) to be valid and does not need to be registered with the Court of Protection. However, the Power of Attorney would cease to have effect if you become incapable of managing your affairs. It should be seen as a stop-gap only.