Job Retention Scheme

Latest updates:
29/07/2020
What to do If you've claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 29 May the Chancellor announced further details on the extension of the Job Retention Scheme, which offers additional flexibility in working arrangements from 1 July 2020, and a tapered reduction in government support from 1 August 2020. Further details are set out below and in the government’s factsheet. We will update these pages when more detailed guidance becomes available.

HMRC has published on GOV.UK guidance for employees and employers on the Job Retention Scheme. This guidance has been updated a number of times since its initial publication on 26 March. It includes detailed guidance around which employees and employers are eligible for the scheme, how much can be claimed and what information will be required to make a claim. It also includes guidance on how to check which employees you can put on furlough calculate 80% of your employees’ wages, and employer's NI and pension, how to make a claim, how to report payments to HMRC made to employees under the CJRS using the PAYE RTI system and what to do If you've claimed too much or not enough from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. There is a collections page on GOV.UK which brings together the various CJRS guidance, and would be a useful page to bookmark.

HMRC has also published a step by step guide for employers.

A calculator is also available to assist in working out how much can be claimed, and can help calculate the claim for most employees who are paid either regular or variable amounts each pay period.

On 11 May HMRC shared an update, confirming that a save and retrieve function has been added to the CJRS, as well as providing guidance to avoid some of the more common mistakes.

HMRC has also published some information for agents to explain who is authorised to submit the claim, and how to become authorised if not authorised already.

The Cabinet Office has published guidance for public sector contractors, in particular payments to suppliers for contingency workers impacted by COVID-19.

HMRC has sent a letter to agents in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This can be found in our Technical News section.

On 15 April 2020 the Chancellor made a Treasury Direction under Sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, which sets out that HMRC are responsible for the payment and management of amounts to be paid under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as set out in the Schedule to the Direction, and the legal framework for the Scheme. This Treasury Direction was replaced on 20 May 2020 by a further Treasury Direction clarifying some provisions within the original Direction and to reflect the extension of the current scheme until 30 June 2020. On 25 June, the Chancellor made a further Treasury Direction, reflecting the extension to the Scheme to 31 October, and the changes to the terms of the scheme from 1 July onwards, announced by the Chancellor on 12 May.

Tarlochan Lall, Barrister, Monckton Chambers, considers the scheme’s features and associated legal issues in this article.

Regulations have been laid to prevent an employee from experiencing disadvantage in relation to family-related statutory payments and Maternity Allowance as a result of their being placed on temporary leave under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. More information can be found here.

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper ‘FAQs: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, updated as at 16 June 2020.

Query Status / response
Can agents make claims on behalf of their clients?
Agents that are authorised to act on behalf of clients for PAYE matters, will be able to claim. However, file only agents, including Payroll Bureaus, will not be able access the service due to data protection reasons. See HMRC letter to agents
Can I furlough staff regularly, but have them working one week a month in order to carry out essential tasks?
Subject to any employment law issues, yes. An employee must be furloughed for a minimum of three consecutive weeks, but can be furloughed again after having a week back at work. From 1 July, employers will have maximum flexibility to bring employees back to work and the three week minimum furlough period will not apply.
How long will it take for claims to be paid?
It will take around six working days for claims to be paid. 
How long will the scheme run for?
The scheme will run in its current form until the end of June. From July, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part time whilst still receiving support from the scheme. The scheme will then run for a further three months from August through to the end of October, albeit with reduced levels of government support (see below).
How much must the employee be paid in July to October, and how much will it cost the employer?
The employee must receive at least 80% of their salary whilst on furlough, so in September and October, when the amount of government support in relation to the employee’s wages reduces, the employer must top up by at least 10% and 20% respectively.
In July to October the amounts of government support per employee are as follows:
July - 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500, PLUS Er NICs, PLUS pension contributions
August - 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. NO Er NICs or pension will be reimbursed.
September - 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,190. NO Er NICs or pension will be reimbursed.
October - 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. NO Er NICs or pension will be reimbursed.
The claim process requires a Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference, Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number. What do I input if I don’t have these?
Answer ‘no’ to the following questions:
  • Does the employer submit a company tax return (No)
  • Is the employer registered for self-assessment (No)
  • Is the employer registered at companies house (No)
Then when asked:
What is the name of the employer?
Enter the name of the organisation or individual employer.
If problems persist please let us know at technical [at] ciot.org.uk.
Can I amend or correct a previous claim?

 

If you have made an error in a CJRS claim that means you received too much money, you must pay this back to HMRC. You can either correct it in your next claim or, if you do not expect to make another CJRS claim, make a payment to HMRC.
If you have underclaimed your CJRS grant you should contact HMRC on 0800 024 1222.
If you have made a mistake on a claim it can be deleted up to 72 hours after it has been made. 
What do I do if I do not hold every employee’s National Insurance Number, or if I have employees with a temporary National Insurance Number?
HMRC has provided us with specific guidance in relation to these circumstances.
What about annually paid directors and other employees who are paid in March each year.
In order to qualify for the CJRS a director or employee must have been notified to HMRC on a real-time information (RTI) submission on or before 19 March 2020, AND which relates to a payment of earnings in the 2019/20 tax year. If the last RTI submission before 19 March 2020 was in relation to the 2018/19 tax year then the individual will not qualify. See ‘Company directors with an annual pay period’ on GOV.UK.  
What is a ‘claim period’ for my CJRS claim?
Guidance on claim periods can be found under the heading 'Deciding the length of your claim period' on GOV.UK and also under the link ‘What is a claim period?’ on the GOV.UK calculator
What records must I retain, and for how long?
You must keep a copy of all relevant records for 6 years, including:
  • the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
  • the claim reference number for your records
  • your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your claim
We have asked HMRC to confirm if any further records need to be retained.
Can I make a deduction from my employee’s salary if they are on furlough.
There are very strict rules around what can be deducted from an employee’s salary when they are on furlough. See GOV.UK. However, employee authorised salary deductions can now be made from grant payments, such as if the employee’s furlough pay has previously been calculated incorrectly and the employee has agreed to refund the overpayment to the employer.
Are there any restrictions on this second phase of the scheme?
Yes, these include:
  • Only employers who have furloughed employees for a full three week period prior to 30 June will be able to make a claim under the second phase. Claims for this first phase must be made by 31 July.
  • Only employees who have been previously furloughed on or before 10 June will be covered by the second phase of the scheme.
  • Employers will need to provide details of hours usually and actually worked when making a claim under the scheme.
  • The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim under the current CJRS.
  • Claim periods cannot overlap a calendar month. If a pay period spans the month end then two claims have to be made in relation to that pay period.
What can I claim if I haven’t previously furloughed an employee, but do so for the first time after 10 June?
Provided the employee is furloughed for at least the minimum three week period applicable under the original scheme, it will be possible to make a CJRS claim covering the period from the date of furlough, until 30 June, provided the claim is made by 31 July. The period of furlough which falls on or after 1 July cannot be claimed for, meaning that the employer must bear the full cost of the post 1 July period. Further, the employee (or indeed the employer) cannot benefit from the CJRS as it applies on or after 1 July.
Can I still make a claim even if I may have to make employees redundant.
Yes. We have confirmed with HMRC that whilst the Treasury Direction states that amounts paid under the scheme ‘are used by the employer to continue the employment of employees in respect of whom the CJRS claim is made’, employers can put employees on furlough, and make a CJRS claim, even if it is possible (likely even) that the person might in fact be made redundant at some point in the future.