Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extended

In light of the increased restrictions needed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the government have extended the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme (CJRS) that was originally due to end 31st October 2020. CJRS has been extended to 31 March for all parts of the UK.

From 1st November, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The UK Government will review the policy in January. Employers must continue to pay all employers National Insurance and pension contributions. Employers can choose to top up their furloughed employees’ pay beyond the 80% but they are not required to do so.

Employers and their employees do not need to have used the scheme before to claim for periods from 1 November. Go to GOV.UK for full eligibility criteria.
HMRC intend to publish details of employers who use the scheme for claim periods from December, and employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme.
There are now monthly deadlines for claims. Claims for period on or after 1st November must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend in which case the deadline is the next weekday. Claims for periods up to 31 October will not be accepted after 30 November.
You can claim for employees who were on your payroll on 30th October 2020 and included in an RTI submission to HMRC between 20th March and 30th October 2020. If employees were on your payroll and included in an RTI submission on or before 23rd September and were made redundant or stopped working for you, they can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them.
You must agree working hours with your employees you wish to furlough and agree any changes to their employment contact.
You cannot claim for more employees than you have previously claimed for.
The Job Retention Bonus will no longer be paid in February 2021 and an alternative retention incentive will be put in place at the appropriate time.
The launch of the Job Support Scheme due to start 1st November has also been postponed.

For help with your furlough calculations please click here for the Job Retention Scheme Calculator.

Employers will need to keep the records that support the amount of CJRS grant they claim, in case HMRC need to check it. Employers and authorised agents can view, print or download copies of previously submitted claims by logging onto their CJRS service on GOV.UK.

The New COVID-19 Job Support Scheme

With the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 31st October, the New COVID-19 Job Support Scheme starts on 1st November 2020 and will run for 6 months until April 2021 for SMEs (less than 250 employees). The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The company will continue to pay employees for time worked, but the burden of hours not worked will be split 3 ways between the employer, the government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction) and the employee will keep their job. This means that employees will receive at least two thirds of their usual wages for the hours not worked. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

To qualify, employees must be on the payroll on or before 23rd September 2020 and work at least 33% of their usual hours. Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but each short-term working arrangement must cover a minimum period of 7 days. Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangement with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing.

For every hour not worked by the employee, both the Government and employer will pay a third each of the usual hourly wage for that employee. The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month. Grants will be made in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the Government’s contribution. The grant will not cover employer NIC or pension contributions. Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.

Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.UK from December 2020. Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.

Furlough changes from August

The government have announced that Furlough will not be extended beyond October, but there are changes to the furlough scheme coming into force from this month.

Over 9.3 million workers have been placed on the furlough scheme, which has seen the government cover 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month, since its launch in March 2020. The initiative closed to new workers in June but those still on it can continue to get government funding until 31st October 2020.

From 1st August, employers must now pick up the bill for all employers National Insurance and pension costs from now on. This represents about 5% of employment costs for businesses. The government will continue to pay 80% of staff wages up to the £2500 a month cap.


In September, the government’s contribution will fall to 70% of wages up to a cap of £2187.50 a month. This means employers will have to pay 10% of salaries to make up 80% of wages in total up to a cap of £2500. Employers will also need to continue to pay NI and pension contributions. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the employment costs.


In October, the government’s contribution will fall again to 60% of wages up to a cap of £1875 a month. This means businesses will have to pay 20% of salaries to make up 80% of wages in total up to a cap of £2500. Employers will also need to continue to pay NI and pension contributions. It means employers footing the bill for 23% of employment costs.

The scheme will then end on October 31st.

Flexible Furloughing from 1st July 2020

Important changes are being made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
The scheme will close to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for 3 weeks by 30th June, so you will only be able to claim for employees after that if they have been furloughed for a 3 week period at any time before the end of June. That means the last day you can furlough an employee who has not been furloughed before is 10th June. This ensures the minimum three week period is complete by 30th June. You will have until 31st July to make a claim for any periods of furlough up until 30th June. The rules of the scheme then change on 1st July.

From 1 July 2020, you will have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced to help people get back to work.
You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as your business needs, with no minimum time that you can furlough staff for.
Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. You can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if you prefer. You will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.
If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Employer contributions

From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered:
• in June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work – employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
• in August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
• in September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
• in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
• the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked

If you are a smaller employer, some or all of your employer NIC bills will be covered by the Employment Allowance, so you should not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.
Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live on GOV.UK.
If you have less than 250 employees, you can now claim for coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). To make a claim now, click here.

You are eligible to use the scheme if you meet the following criteria:
* you are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
* you had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020
* you had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020
* you’re eligible to receive state aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they either:
* had or have coronavirus
* could not or cannot work because they were/are self-isolating at home
* were/are shielding in line with public health guidance.

You must keep records of SSP that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC.
You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:
* the dates the employee was off sick
* which of those dates were qualifying days
* the reason they said they were off work – if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
* the employee’s National Insurance number.
You can choose how you keep records of your employees’ sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there’s a dispute over payment of SSP