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Coronavirus Guidance for Employers

Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the 'Scheme'), an employer is able to a claim a grant from the UK government to cover part of the cost of paying the salary of an employee that would otherwise have been laid off (a ‘furloughed employee').

Qualifying for the CJRS

All UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 are eligible for the CJRS. To qualify as a furloughed employee, the employee must undertake no work for the employer. Only employees that were on the payroll on or before 19 March 2020, and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020 are eligible for the CJRS.

Warning!

The employer will need to consider a number of issues before they decide to furlough staff, including the employee's employment rights and equality and discrimination laws.

Calculating funding under the CJRS

The CJRS is open for the four months starting on 1 March 2020. The grant is made up of two parts:

  • Part 1 is equal to 80% of the employee’s basic salary before tax based on their last pay period prior to 19 March 2020 (an average amount may be used where the employee’s hours vary), capped at £2,500 per month. Basic salary excludes discretionary bonus and commission payments; and
  • Part 2 is the total amount of the associated Employers’ NICs and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions relating to Part 1.

The employer is responsible for calculating the amount of the grant. HMRC have provided detailed guidance on calculating the grant, including a calculator.

Warning!

HMRC have published additional guidance on calculating the amount of the grant for certain sectors; for example, for early years providers.

The employer may pay the employee more than the amount of the grant; eg the employee's usual monthly wage. The grant will not cover the additional amount; nor will it cover the associated Employers' NICs or automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.

Claiming funding under the CJRS

The employer will process the employee’s wages through PAYE, deducting income tax and NICs, as normal. The employer (or their agent, where the agent is authorised to act for the employer for PAYE) may claim the grant through the dedicated online portal. HMRC will then pay the grant into the employer’s bank account.

The CJRS from 1 August onwards

On 12 May, the government announced that it would continue the CJRS beyond 31 July (to 31 October), all be it in a different form.

From 1 August:

  • furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time; and
  • employers will be required to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.

Other resources:

Job Retention Scheme - Furloughing Staff

We have created a section dedicated to Job Retention Scheme (furloughing staff) which included questions and answers to common questions.

Government guidance

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

A number of changes have been announced with regard to SSP, including that a UK-based small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) is entitled to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The employer will need to make a claim through a new online service which is expected to be available from 26 May.

Key points to be aware of are:

  • the refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee where the person has been absent from work because they had COVID-19 symptoms, were self-isolating or were shielding;
  • to make a claim, it must be the case that the employer had a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020; and
  • a business is a SME where it had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020.

For this purpose, a business is a SME where it had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020.

Other resources:

Legislation: Coronavirus Act 2020, s. 39–44

Government guidance

Other statutory payments

The rules for some family-related statutory payments (eg Statutory Maternity Pay) have been changed to ensure that the employee is not disadvantaged as a result of being furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Annual leave

The government has announced that workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 are able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.

he government has published guidance for employers on holiday entitlement and pay during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tax-free allowance for homeworkers

This is increased from £4pw to £6pw from April 2020.

HMRC guidance

Content last updated 22 April 2020

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