The CJRS, or furlough scheme, which had been due to close at the end of October 2020, has been further extended (in March 2021) and will now remain open until (at present) the end of September 2021
Employers need to check applicable claim period dates as these are now strictly enforced
Furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500
Employers will be asked to pay only NI and pension contributions (i.e. around 5% of employee costs) at this time until the end of June 2021
In July 2021, CJRS grants will cover 70% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,187.50
In August and September 2021, this will then reduce to 60% of employees’ usual wages up to a cap of £1,875
You can part (flexible) or full-time furlough employees – any hours worked must be paid at the usual rate of pay
Employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days
The Job Support Scheme, which was set to replace the CJRS on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed indefinitely, along with the Job Retention Bonus (as mentioned above)
Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS
Currently, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll (i.e. an RTI submission to HMRC) by 23:59 30th October 2020, however, this will change from May 2021 - see below
Refer to Gov.uk for the correct pay calculations periods and what calculations to use - these can be different depending on when your employee started working with you, or whether they are on fixed or variable pay
Once again, you should get the employee's agreement to furlough them in writing as the scheme will continue to be audited by HMRC – please speak to Embrace HR to ensure you get the right documentation in place if you do need to furlough staff, whether part or full time
The government's furlough scheme pages continue to be intermittently updated - the new scheme largely follows the first scheme, with the key exception being the change of dates in who can be eligible - this was changed in October to include anyone that was already reported as on the payroll on 30th October, and has now been changed again - For periods from 1 May 2021 onwards, eligible employees who were employed and on PAYE payroll on 2 March 2021 will be able to be claimed for.
Unfortunately, the Job Retention Bonus – set to be paid for employers who kept people on furlough until the end of January at a rate of £1,000 per employer has been shelved indefinitely. We may see its return as HMRC have said that “An alternative retention incentive will be put in place at the appropriate time”, but as we know, nothing is guaranteed these days. We have already spoken to clients who are very frustrated by this as it had been built into budgeting plans.
Another thing to note is that people who were previously on the payroll but were since made redundant may be re-employed and furloughed (qualifying dates apply) but we would express extreme caution if you are thinking of doing this – please contact Embrace HR if this is a consideration as you will need to consider the circumstances carefully and look at the employment law implications.
Note that with effect from 1st December 2020, employers are 20no longer be able to reclaim the relevant proportion of notice pay via the furlough scheme.
You may find the following page a useful starting point if you’re looking at what else might be available for your business: