Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘CJRS’) and the support that it provides has changed a number of times since the scheme was first announced in March 2020. The CJRS is currently due to end on 31 October 2020. Below we have summarised the latest guidance and support that the CJRS will offer employers during September and October.

September 2020 October 2020
Employer NICs and Pension contributions Employer must pay Employer must pay
Government Contribution: Wages 70% up to £2,187.50 60% up to £1,875.00
Employer Contribution: Wages 10% up to £321.50 20% up to £625.00
Employee receives 80% up to £2,500.00 80% up to £2,500.00

The CJRS closed to new employees in June 2020. Therefore, unless an employer is making a claim for an employee who is a military reservist or is returning from statutory parental leave, they are only able to continue to claim through the CJRS for its employee where they have satisfied the following criteria:

  • The employee has previously been furloughed for 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020; and
  • The employer submitted its claim in respect of the above, before 31 July 2020.

Before an employer can calculate how much it can claim under the CJRS, it will need to work out its employees’ wages. To do this, employers will need to calculate:

  • The length of the claim period;
  • What can be included when calculating wages; and
  • Employees usual hours and furloughed hours.

The Government have provided detailed guidance to assist employers when calculating the above information. This can be accessed here.

Flexible Furlough

From 1 July 2020, employers have been able to bring furloughed employees back to work on reduced hours (having the flexibility to decide the amount of time they return for and the relevant shift pattern), while still being able to claim under the CJRS for the hours not worked.

Usual hours and corresponding calculations may be relatively straightforward when calculating the CJRS claim for those employees with fixed number of hours per pay period. More complicated calculations will apply for employees who pay varies, and see here for the latest guidance on this.

Record Keeping

Written evidence of an employee’s agreement to a period of furlough leave must be retained by the employer for at least 5 years.

The Government has detailed that the following records must be kept for a minimum period of 6 years by the employer when placing an employee on furlough and making a claim:

  • The amount claimed and the claim period for each employee;
  • The claim reference number;
  • Calculations the employer has made in case HMRC need more information about the claim; and

Where employees are flexibly furloughed, their usual hours and the hours that they actually worked in the claim period, including the relevant calculation.

Full details of our COVID-19 Employers Emergency Support can be found here.