On Friday, the Chancellor issued the third (and presumably final) Treasury Direction in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This is “the law” that will govern the flexible furlough arrangements from 1 July 2020.
As with the two previous Treasury Directions, this document is horribly complicated to navigate – to the point where the less trusting parts of you begin to wonder if it represents a deliberate attempt to deter CJRS applications by making sure that whatever the employer claims, it is almost bound to be wrong. For example, paragraphs 14.5 and 14.6 read “A CJRS claim must not be made if the CJRS claim period of the claim would include a day that is not a permitted CJRS day”, being a day which “falls in a period that is (or will be) covered by a CJRS claim period (“relevant CJRS claim period”) and does not fall in a period covered by a CJRS claim period that begins on a different day to the day on which the relevant CJRS claim period begins, or ends on a different day to the day on which the relevant CJRS claim period ends”. Got that? Anyone? The sole attraction of this degree of opacity in the drafting of the Direction is that HMRC’s ability to show wilful non-compliance with the CJRS claim rules in any later audit or prosecution around this sort of thing will be more or less nil.
The good news, relatively-speaking, is that there are no huge surprises in TD3. Much of the content reflects what was stated in HMRC’s recent updated guidance on the new flexible furlough arrangements. We would recommend that you refer to that as a starting point for understanding the new arrangements. It is certainly more accessible than this Direction.