Topic: Coronavirus

The future of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

By Richard Kleiner

02 Jun 2020

On 29 May 2020, the government announced further details regarding the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The main details of which we have outlined below.

Flexible furloughing

From 1 July 2020, you’ll have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time – with the government continuing to pay 80% of wages for any of their normal hours they do not work up until the end of August. This flexibility comes a month earlier than previously announced with the aim of assisting people to get back to work.

You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return and you will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. However, you must confirm any new working hour arrangement with your employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. You can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if you prefer. You will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.

If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Employer contributions

Since 1 August, the government grant provided through the CJRS has been slowly tapered.

  • Since 1 August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed.
  • From September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will need to fund the difference and pay the additional 10% to make the wages up to 80%, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers will also need to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions.
  • From 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, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500.
  • The cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.
  • The CJRS scheme has now been extended to the end of April 2021. Read the latest update here.

If you are a smaller employer, some or all of your employer NIC bills may be covered by the Employment Allowance, so you may not be significantly impacted by that part of the tapering of the government contribution.

Around a quarter of CJRS monthly claims relate to wages that are below the threshold where employer NICs and auto enrolment contributions are due, and so no employer contribution will be required for these furloughed employees in August.

For full details on furlough including eligibility, making a claim and how to furlough an employee, click here to read our article, Your guide to furlough.

Important dates

It’s important to note that the scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, you will only be able to furlough employees that you have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June.

This means that the final date that you can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

 

Please note the above is based on current guidance. This is an ever-changing landscape and if the position changes again we will update this article.

If you would like to discuss the above further, please contact one of our team.
 

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