Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which was due to end 31st October, has now been extended, with the UK government paying 80% of wages for the hours furloughed employees do not work, up to a cap of £2500 per month from 1st November until the end of April 2021.
Increase in real Living Wage
The real Living Wage is a voluntary hourly rate paid by nearly 7000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage that meets everyday needs. Unlike the national minimum and living wage, the real living wage rates are higher because they are independently calculated based on what people need to get by. From 9th November 2020 the real living hourly rate is £9.50 across the UK and £10.85 in London for employees 18 and over.
October Furlough Changes
From 1st October, the amount employers can claim for furlough drops to 60%, up to a cap of £1875.00 per month, with the employer having to make up 20% of gross pay, so employees still receive 80% of their pay. This will be the final month of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
September Furlough Changes
From 1st September, the amount employers can claim for furlough drops to 70%, up to a cap of £2187.50 per month, with the employer having to make up 10% of gross pay, so employees still receive 80% of their pay.
August Furlough changes
From 1st August, employers must start picking up some of the furlough bill when they have yo pay National Insurance and pension contributions. 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.
From 1st July 2020 you will have the flexibility to bring back previously furloughed employees back to work part-time, with the government still paying 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work. 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.
Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
The scheme will close to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for 3 weeks by 30th June. If you intend to furlough an employee who hasn’t been furloughed before, you will need to agree that with them and start their period of furlough on or before 10th June. This is the last day on which someone who has never been furloughed before can start a period of furlough and qualify for the scheme. This ensures the minimum 3 week period is complete by 30th June.
You have until 31st July to make any furlough claims for any periods up until 30th June.
Making changes to over-claimed furlough claims
If you have made an error in a CJRS claim that means you have received too much money, you must pay this back to HMRC. HMRC have updated their system so you can tell them if you have over-claimed in a previous claim. When you apply you will be asked if you need to reduce the amount to take account of a previous error. Your new claim amount will be reduced to reflect this. If you have made an error and do not plan to submit further claims, HMRC are working on a process that will allow you to let them know.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live on GOV.UK.
If you are an employer with less than 250 staff, you can now claim for coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
Holiday when on furlough
Workers continue to accrue holiday whilst on furlough and can take holiday without it disrupting the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Employers can require staff to take holiday if they give enough notice to the worker, which is double the length of the holiday. Holiday pay should reflect what they would have earned if they had been at work and working. Where this calculated rate is above the furlough pay, the employer must pay the difference.
Support for staff and businesses affected by Coronavirus
The budget unveiled a £30 billion package to support the economy through the COVID-19 outbreak. SSP will now be available for eligible employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or for those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating. SSP will be payable from day one instead of day 4. The government will allow small and medium-sized businesses (less than 250 employees) to reclaim this SSP for up to 2 weeks. Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment plan as soon as possible.
Change in Employment Allowance
From April 2020 Employment Allowance needs to be claimed each tax year and included in the first Employer Payment Summary submission. Large companies and groups will no longer be eligible if the total NICS for 2019-20 are greater than £100,000.
Changes to IR35
From April 2020, employers that engage ‘off-payroll’ workers will become responsible for determining their employment status and paying NICs for those who are deemed to be employees.
Changes to calculating Holiday Pay
From 6th April 2020, the reference period for calculating annual leave increases from 12 to 52 weeks. This applies to all 5.6 weeks’ of a worker’s minimum holiday entitlement. If the worker has been employed for less than 52 weeks, their holiday pay is based on the number of completed weeks they have worked. This will only affect workers whose pay varies.
NICs on termination payments
From April 2020, the rules for income tax and employer national insurance contributions will be aligned so that employer contributions of 13.80% will be payable on termination payments over £30,000. Currently only income tax is payable on sums in excess of £30,000.
Statutory Bereavement Pay
From April 2020, Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay applies to employed parents (subject to meeting eligibility criteria) if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a still birth from 24 weeks of pregnancy. SPBP is paid at 151.20 per week for up to 2 weeks taken in one week blocks. Parents may split the weeks blocks of leave for up to 56 weeks after the loss of their child. SPBP can be taken after other parental leave such as paternity or maternity pay.
Student loans 2020
From April 2020 the annual earnings threshold at which student loans repayment deductions are calculated will increase.
Plan 1 student loans will rise from £18,935 to £19,390.
Plan 2 student loans will rise from £25,725 to £26,575.