Job Retention, SSP Relief And Self-Employed Support

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Update on 31st July - HMRC announces further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Bonus Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January 2021. 


A policy statement published by the HMRC today gives employers further details on eligibility requirements and how they can claim the bonus: 

  • Employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021
  • To ensure the jobs are meaningful well-paid, employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January
  • Those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted for them after 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria
  • Employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee

Guidance has been published outlining the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme following the Chancellor’s announcement on 29 May. These include:

  • From 1 July employers can only claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March–30 June.
  • Flexibly furlough employees, meaning employees can come back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern.
  • Still be able to claim the furlough grant for the hours your flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period
  • From 1 August, the level of the grant will be slowly reduced. No grant will be available for Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions from 1 August although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.
  • From 1 September, you will also be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages to ensure they continue to receive at least 80% of their wages for the time they’re on furlough. Find more information on how the amount of grant available through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.
  • Parents returning from maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental bereavement leave after 10 June are exempt from the cut-off date for new entrants. This applies to employers who have previously submitted a claim for any other employee (between 1 March and 30 June). Employees need to have started the leave before 10 June and are returning after 10 June and they have to be on their employers’ PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.

Flexible Furloughing: 

  • From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked.
  • From 1 July, employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with previously furloughed employees.
  • When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.This is a minimum period and those making claims for longer periods such as those on monthly or two weekly cycles will be able to do so.
  • To be eligible for the grant, employers must agree with their employee any new flexible furloughing arrangement and confirm that agreement in writing.
  • Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Further details will be included in future guidance.
  • Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
  • For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
  • Eligibility depends on employment on or after certain dates. Guidance is available to clarify situations where employers:
    • Made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 28 February 2020
    • Made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 19 March 2020
    • Employ someone on a fixed-term contract

CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIEDO ON FLEXIBLE FURLOUGHING 

Closure to new entrants from July: 

  • The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June.
  • This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be the 10 June, in order for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31st July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
  • From 1 July the scheme will only be available to employers that have previously used the scheme in respect of employees they have previously furloughed.
  • From 1 July, claim periods will no longer be able to overlap months, employers who previously submitted claims with periods that overlapped calendar months will no longer be able to do this going forward. This is necessary to reflect the forthcoming changes to the scheme.

Timeline: 

  • June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
  • August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
  • October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

Employer costs: 

  • From August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work:
  • In June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance Contributions (ER NICS) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work.
  • In August, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work.
  • In September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
  • In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

Additional information: 

  • 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.
  • Employers can continue to make claims in anticipation of an imminent payroll run, at the point payroll is run or after payroll has been run.
  • Employers will be able to make their first claim under the new scheme from 1 July.

HMRC have published new guidance for businesses that have accidently overclaimed for employees that are on furlough. Employees can either:

    • correct it in their next claim
    • make a payment to HMRC, if they’re not making another claim

Online claim service

To prepare to make your claim you will need to:

  • read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before you apply
  • gather all the information and the precise calculations you need before you start your application – if you have a payroll provider, they will be able to help you with this
  • find out more in the calculation guidance where you can access a claim calculator – this will allow you to check your claim for most employees who are paid the same amount each pay period
  • access a simple step-by-step guide for additional help.
  • a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online.
  • be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can register here.
  • the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for: Name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, PAYE/employee number (optional).
  • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee. If you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; HMRC will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods

To claim you will need:

  • your ePAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code your contact name
  • your phone number 

After you’ve made a claim:

  • keep a note or a print-out of your claim reference number – you won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email
  • retain all records and calculations for your claims, in case HMRC need to contact you about them
  • expect to receive the funds six working days after you apply, provided your claim matches records that we hold for your PAYE scheme

You can find more information on the scheme and eligibility to claim here.

Job Retention Bonus Scheme

This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. The bonus will provide additional support to retain employees.

To be eligible, employees will need to:

  • earn at least £520 per month (above the Lower Earnings Limit) on average for November, December and January
  • have been furloughed by you at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • have been continuously employed by you up until at least 31 January 2021.

Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021 once accurate RTI data to 31 January has been received. More information about this scheme will be available by 31 July and full guidance will be published in the Autumn.

Statutory Sick Pay Relief Package For SMEs

Small and medium-sized businesses and employers can reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

  • The refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as at 28 February 2020.
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
  • Repayments will be at the relevant rate of SSP that has been paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note form NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website.
  • Employers can claim from the first qualifying day that an employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after: 
    • 13 March 2020 - if an employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
    • 16 April 2020 - if an employee was shielding because of coronavirus
    • 28 May 2020 - if an employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirusExployers can claim from the first qualifying day an employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:
  • Tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers.
  • Employers can make a claim for SSP paid due to coronavirus to employees who have been transferred under TUPE if you had:
      • a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
      • fewer than 250 employees (including TUPE transferred employees) across all PAYE payroll schemes on 28 February 2020

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Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Updated guidance has been made available on the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Eligible individuals are able to claim a second and final grant in August. 

  • Those eligible for the first grant must claim on or before 13 July 2020. 
  • Applications for the second grant will open in August.
  • The eligibility criteria remain the same as for the first SEISS grant.  
  • Those claiming for the second grant will have to confirm that their business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.  
  • Individuals can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.

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