Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extension

On 31 October, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four week lockdown in England to commence from 5 November, where “non-essential” businesses will be forced to close.

On 5 November, the Government announced a five-month extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was due to end on 31 October. The furlough scheme will now run until the end of March 2021.

This means that employers can carry on furloughing their employees and claiming a furlough grant from the government throughout this period.

What are the rules?

The CJRS will broadly follow the same rules as they stood in August, where employers can furlough (wholly or partly) their staff and pay at least 80% of their usual pay for hours they did not work in the pay period.

The employer can then reclaim 80% of an employee’s wages for unworked hours back from the government (up to a cap of £2,500), although the employer is required to pay employer pension and employer national insurance costs without reimbursement, in addition to an employee’s pay for worked hours. This level of support will be reviewed in January 2021.

The main difference to the scheme is that the criteria for staff being furloughed has now changed:

  • Employees are not required to have been on a CJRS claim previously. Similarly, employers who have never claimed before are also eligible.
  • The scheme is also now open to employees who were employed at 30th October 2020 and were included on the employers payroll on or before 30 October 2020 (and notified to HMRC via an RTI submission on or before 30 October 2020). This could potentially mean that you are now able to furlough employees who were previously not eligible for the furlough grant.
  • Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.

The Job Support Scheme (Open) and (Closed) which was due to commence 1 November 2020, has been delayed until the CJRS has ended.

Making a claim

The new deadline for CJRS claims is 14th of the following month and the first claims can be made from 11 November.

You can either make a claim yourself through the Government Gateway or if you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online, they can claim on your behalf. You can check which employees you can put on furlough and calculate how much you can claim on the Gov.uk website.

HMRC have reiterated that it’s important to provide the correct data they need to process your claim, otherwise your payment may be delayed.

For those businesses that are claiming for 100 or more furloughed employees, HMRC have a template you can download to submit your details.

If we are not already preparing claims on your behalf and you require assistance with this, please get in touch with your usual MHA Carpenter Box contact or email our dedicated CJRS team at cjrs@carpenterbox.com

Further detailed guidance from the government is expected on 10 November.

Incorrect claims

If you think you have unintentionally claimed too much for a CJRS claim, you can let HMRC know as part of your next online claim. If you have made an error and do not plan to submit further claims, or you have claimed less than you are entitled, you can contact HMRC directly to resolve the issue.

HMRC are contacting a number of employers to check that they have claimed the correct amount and are prosecuting those who are fraudulently using the scheme.

Job Retention Bonus (JRB)

As the CJRS is being extended to the end of March 2021, the Jobs Retention Bonus (JRB) will no longer be paid in February. The government will instead redeploy a retention incentive at the appropriate time.

For more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, get in touch with a member of our team on 01903 234094.