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COVID-19: Can employers avoid the 'name and shame' furlough list?

COVID-19: CJRS guidance has been updated to confirm how employers can request that their furlough claim details are not published by HMRC

Andrew Collier
Andrew Collier HR Adviser
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HMRC have this week updated the guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to confirm how employers can submit requests that details of their claims for furlough grants under the scheme are not published.   

Back on 1 December 2020 we were told somewhat controversially that the publication of employer furlough claim details was to commence as a way of promoting transparency of the scheme and deterring fraud.  Very quickly and perhaps unfairly, this became known as the 'name and shame' list.  The vast majority of employers have had no choice but to furlough employees  (and many employers are only furloughing employees for legitimate health or childcare reasons) and there really is no shame in that.   

However, the latest guidance now confirms that claim details will not be published where employers are able to show and provide evidence that doing so would result in serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals (including individual employers, directors, officers or employees) or anyone living with them. 

To request that HMRC refrains from publication on this basis, employers will need to provide their:

·         Employer Government Gateway user ID and password.
·         Employer PAYE reference number.
·         Business name.
·         Contact details.
·         Evidence in support of their application. 

The request must be made by the employer and cannot be made by an agent on the employer's behalf. An application need only be made once and HMRC's decision will apply to all claim periods from 1 December 2020 onwards. No details will be published by HMRC until a decision has been made about the application and the employer has been informed. 

The revised guidance confirms that a list of employer names will be published for the first time on GOV.UK on 26 January 2021. From February 2021, HMRC will publish employer names, an indication of the value of the claim and the company number (for companies and LLPs) on a monthly basis. Employers wishing to avoid being named on 26 January 2021 must therefore submit their applications as soon as possible.
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