The government has amended the eligibility criteria and will allow some agents' commission payments to be included in claims for Furloughed Pay.
An announcement came via NAEA and ARLA Propertymarkwhich has received clarification from the government. A joint NAEA/ARLA statement says:
The clarification states that agents will be able to claim for any regular payments that they are obliged to pay employees including
- past overtime;
- compulsory commission payments.
Discretionary bonuses and commission payments however, and non-cash payments cannot be included.
In circumstances where the employee has been employed for 12 months or more, you can claim the highest of either:
- the same month’s earning from the previous year;
- average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year.
Where the employee has been employed for less than 12 months, employers can claim for 80% of their average monthly earnings since they started work.
The scheme is in place from 1 March 2020 for 3 months and may be extended if necessary. To be eligible for the grant, a furloughed employee must have been enrolled on the company's PAYE payroll and cannot undertake work for, or on behalf of, the organisation. Staff who are working reduced hours are not eligible for pay to be reimbursed.
Where an employee has been made redundant on or after 28 February 2020, agents can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme.
A furloughed employee is free to take part in voluntary work if this is in line with public health guidance, as long as they are not providing services for their employer.
Furloughed employees are free to participate in training and this is encouraged as long as it is not part of work to generate income for the organisation within the furlough period.
David Cox, ARLA chief executive, says: “This clarification is a really important development in stabilising the sector as we look towards the recovery. Where staff are furloughed, they must be supported to return in the strongest position, bringing back with them the professional skills and experience that landlords and tenants rely on. Before that, furloughed staff who are able, may decide to pursue training or take part in voluntary work to support their community."