On 5 November, Rishi Sunak confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would be extended until 31 March 2021 (click here to read our last article on this). Guidance for this extension was published on 10 November, details of which can be found below.
Highlights of the key changes to CJRS
- From 1 November 2020 employers can claim 80% of an employee’s wage for the hours they are furloughed/flexible furlough up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month.
- There is no maximum number of employees that employers can claim for.
- Employers can top up the 80% if they wish.
- Employers must meet the cost of employer’s secondary NI and pension contributions.
- Employers must confirm in writing to the employee that they have been furloughed and retain records for 5 years.
- Employers can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020 providing they have reported earnings on an RTI submission between 20 March and 30 October 2020.
When can claims be made?
The deadline for making a claim from 1 November is 14th of the following month. It has now been confirmed that there is a further 14 day window to make any adjustments, making a total of 28 days unless this falls on a weekend then it will be the next working day. This is being challenged by employers.
For all employees on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020, employers can use the CJRS calculations (as applied in August 2020) for reference pay and usual hours even if a claim was not previously made under CJRS. For employees not previously eligible for CJRS, employers should use the following calculations:
- on a fixed salary – 80% of the wages payable in the last pay period ending on or before 30 October 2020
- whose pay varies – 80% of the average payable between (these dates are inclusive) the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before their CJRS extension furlough periods begins
Guidance on reference periods for CJRS and the extended scheme can be found here.
It is important for employers to bear in mind that the reference periods selected for pay or hours refers to “pay periods” and not pay dates. For example, you operate a monthly payroll which pays on the last working day of the month for the whole month, for the month of October you would pay on Friday 30th but the pay period ends on Saturday 31st. The guidance states in certain circumstances you can use pay periods up to 30 October but in this scenario you would have to go back to September’s pay period.
How to calculate employees pay
Examples of how to calculate employee’s pay for furlough and flexible furlough have been updated and can be found here.
If an employer engages a new member of staff that is currently placed on furlough by another employer, they should complete “Statement C” on the New Starter Checklist.
Who qualifies for furlough?
There are special rules for leavers re-employed (including redundancies) and furloughed who originally stopped working for the employer on or after 23 September. They must be on the payroll and have earnings reported on RTI between 20 March and 23 September 2020 to qualify for the grant.
Employees on maternity leave can return early and be furloughed but must give their employer 8 weeks’ notice of their return before furlough leave can begin. The guidance has now been amended to reflect that employees can agree a shorter notice with their employer to return to work in certain circumstances.
Where an employee on maternity leave is claiming Maternity Allowance instead of SMP, they cannot receive furlough pay at the same time. The guidance has now been updated to state that if they are furloughed by their employer then the employee must contact the Job Centre Plus and ask them to stop paying their Maternity Allowance.
- Fixed term contracts
Fixed term contracts for claim periods on or after 1 November 2020 if the contract has not already expired it can be extended or renewed. They can be furloughed providing they were employed on or before 30 October 2020 and have earnings reported on RTI by that date.
- Supply teachers
Supply teachers are eligible for the extended scheme using the same criteria as for other employees. The employer can continue to claim during the school holiday periods regarding furlough pay providing the usual eligibility criteria is met.
The guidance on TUPE transfers has been updated and the error regarding new employees who must transfer to the new employer on or after 1 September 2020 has been corrected:
For claim periods after 1 November 2020, a new employer is eligible to claim in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.
To qualify for the grant the employees who have been furloughed should have been:
- transferred from their old employer to their new employer on or after 1 September 2020
- employed by either their old employer or new employer on 30 October 2020
- on a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC, by their old or new employer between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that specific employee
- Public funding
If staff costs are publicly funded (even if not in the public sector) the employer should not furlough staff.
- Employees Serving Notice
In the guidance which was published on 11 November 2020 on Gov.uk it indicated that two important points that were under review. These points covered whether employees serving notice could be furloughed and that HMRC were considering publicising details of the organisations who have claimed CJRS and the amounts.
The guidance now confirms that:
For claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, an employer is unable to claim for any days on or after 1 December 2020 during which a furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice. This includes those serving notice due to retirement and resignation as well as redundancy.
Any notice pay due should be based on normal contractual pay and not furlough pay.
Where an employee subsequently starts a contractual or statutory notice period on a day covered by a previously submitted claim, the employer will need to make an adjustment.
“From December 2020, HMRC will publish employer names for companies and Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), the company registration number of those who have made claims under the (CJRS) scheme for the month of December onwards.”
Deadline for claims
The guidance for the extended CJRS states that employers must claim for each calendar month separately and that the claim deadline is normally 14th of the following month. Further clarification has been added stating that where the claim deadline falls on a weekend use the next working day.
The deadlines for claims can be find below:
|Claim for furlough days in||Claim must be submitted by|
|November 2020||14 December 2020|
|December 2020||14 January 2021|
|January 2021||15 February 2021|
|February 2021||15 March 2021|
|March 2021||14 April 2021|
If an employer needs to adjust the original claim to claim more money, they have a further 14 days in which to do this. Again, if the 14th day falls on a weekend the deadline falls on the next working day.
Here is a chart to remind you of these deadlines:
|To amend a claim for:||You must amend the claim by 11:59pm on:|
|November 2020||29 December 2020|
|December 2020||28 January 2021|
|January 2021||1 March 2021|
|February 2021||29 March 2021|
|March 2021||28 April 2021|
Please note that if you wish to delete a claim in the online service, you must do so within 72 hours.
All the guidance for CJRS can be found here.
During these uncertain times we continue to provide all of our customers with the best possible service and we will update with any further guidance as and when it is published.