28th April 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Guidance update

Yesterday (15 April) saw a further amendment to the guidance on Gov.uk and the publication of the Treasury Direction and Schedule setting out the legislative framework for claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

Yesterday (15 April) saw a further amendment to the guidance on Gov.uk and the publication of the Treasury Direction and Schedule setting out the legislative framework for claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

There are some key changes to note since the previous update of the guidance on 9 April.

Eligibility

Employers

The qualifying date on which an employer has to be operating a PAYE payroll has moved from 28 February to 19 March 2020.

Employees

The qualifying date on which the employee has to have been on the employer's payroll has also changed from 28 February to 19 March 2020, provided the employer had submitted real time information (RTI) payroll data by that date.

This brings into scope a number of people who fell outside the scheme because they had recently changed jobs.

Employees who were made redundant or stopped working

Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

Employees transferred under TUPE

A new employer is eligible to claim under the CJRS in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred after 19 March 2020 if either the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

Employees furloughed

The Treasury Schedule states that to be a furloughed employee under the scheme and for the employer to make a claim, the employer and employee must have agreed in writing (which can include an email) that the employee will ‘cease all work’.

This appears at first glance to be more stringent than the guidance to date, which required notification or confirmation in writing that employees have been furloughed (rather than agreement). However, it had always been made clear in the guidance that normal employment law applied, and so in the vast majority of cases this would require making changes to the employment contract by agreement to avoid a breach of contract.

Making a claim

The HMRC portal should be open on 20 April 2020.

If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff you will be asked to enter details of each employee you are claiming for directly into the system. This will include their name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, and payroll/employee number (optional).

If you have 100 or more furloughed staff you will be asked to upload a file with the information rather than input it directly into the system. The following file types will be accepted: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods

The information you will need is as follows:

  • Your employer PAYE reference number;
  • The number of employees being furloughed;
  • National Insurance numbers of the furloughed employees;
  • Names of the furloughed employees;
  • Payroll/employee number for the furloughed employees (optional);
  • Your Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference, Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number;
  • The claim period (start and end date);
  • Amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of three consecutive weeks);
  • Your bank account number and sort code;
  • Your contact name; and
  • Your phone number

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.

You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims.

HMRC cannot provide your employees with details of claims you make on their behalf and requests that employers keep their employees informed, answering any questions they might have and asking them not to contact HMRC.

Please note: The above is a brief update and overview of continuing developments and guidance on the CJRS. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice and we are not liable for any reliance on the information provided. This is a rapidly changing subject, and whilst correct at the time of writing, circumstances may have changed since publication. Please refer to Gov.uk for up-to-date advice on the Government’s response to this issue.

To find out more about anything covered in this article, or to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on your business, please contact Kerrie Hunt or another member of Thrings’ Employment and Immigration team.


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