HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have updated guidance in readiness for the commencement of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Part 2.
CJRS Part 1, covered furloughed periods for employees from 1st March 2020 through 30th June 2020 and is coming to an end, with employers who are wanting to receive a grant required to complete their online application by 31st July 2020. Employers will need to finalise the calculation of payments and claims.
Then for each following calendar month a series of changes occur with the introduction of CJRS part 2 offering flexible furlough.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will close on 31st October 2020.
Who qualifies for flexible furlough?
Employers are able to negotiate a new flexible furlough arrangements with employees who had already had a period of 21 days continuous furlough. Additionally the scheme is available to parents returning from extended maternity, adoption and shared parental leave.
The change will require new legal agreements and some planning to coordinate the needs of getting Britain back to work whilst keeping a Britain paid.
What is the main difference?
The main difference is that there is no minimum period of furlough. The basis of furlough and grant proportion is to be based on the difference between actual hours worked and the employees usual hours’ in the calendar month. The relevant hours now form part of the online claim process.
1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for hours not worked.
1 August 2020, the grant is reduced each month. Employers must pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they are being furloughed.
Wage caps are proportional to the hours an employee is furloughed.
- There are no changes to grant levels in June.
- July, – the government pays 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours on furlough, also employer National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions. Employers have to pay for hours worked.
- August – the government pays 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours on furlough only. Employers now pay all ER NICs and pension contributions.
- September – the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for hours on furlough. Employers additionally top up wages to ensure 80% is paid up to a cap of £2,500, for time furloughed.
- October – the government will pay 60% up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours on furlough. Employers top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% up to a cap of £2,500, for time furloughed.
Employers can choose to top up furloughed hours wages above 80% at their own expense. Employers must pay for hours worked.
Where can we find more details?
HMRC have updated guidance late into the evening of Friday 12th June 2020. Employers now need to plan and prepare if they are furloughing employees into July 2020.
The HMRC library of guides can be reached at:
Check if you can use the scheme
This identifies changes applied on 12th June 2020 to the following:
Work out what you can claim
Guidance was updated on 12th June on how the scheme will change from 1 July. The first time the employer can make claims for days in July is the 1st July.
31st July is the last day to submit claims for periods ending 30th June.
Claim and report earnings
For employees who are flexibly furloughing, employers need to have agreed the furlough arrangement with the employee (or reached a collective agreement with a trade union) and keep a written agreement that confirms the furlough arrangement.
For the claim new data is additionally needed:
- number of usual hours the employee would work in the claim period
- number of hours the employee has or will work in the claim period
- keep a record of the number of furloughed hours in the claim period
Employers and payroll professionals utilising flexible furlough will need to undertake assessment and calculations to deduce usual hours. Measures need to be put into place to accurately record work time.
Early indications imply that employees with any element of unmeasured work cannot utilise flexible furlough, they will not qualify for granBe careful.
The furlough scheme has been welcomed by UK PLC and help save millions of jobs. The Calculation of payments and association of grant have had its complexities.
Moving into flexible furlough offers employers the opportunity to plan a staggered return to work. However, there are some complexities on the journey of defining both pay and claiming the online grant and meeting what may be viewed as complex calculations to derive the required proportions.
PAYadvice wishes the payroll profession all the best on maintaining its resilience over this period of time:
- Plan it
- Agree it
- Pay it
- Claim it