The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is now live and will remain in place until 30 June 2020 (possibly longer).
At the bottom of this note are links to the portal and various guidance notes we suggest employers review before submitting their claim.
Preparation before submitting is key
Please note that there is currently no save and return option and sessions will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity. This means that the application needs to be completed in one session. Further, employers can only make one claim during a claim period and must include all employees in each period at one time as it is not possible to make changes to the claim. If HMRC are not satisfied by with the information submitted, payments will be withheld. Preparation before submitting the claim is therefore key and if we can assist with any of the more tricky questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
It is also noteworthy that the Government has now confirmed (albeit as suspected) that annual leave continues to accrue during period of furlough leave and that employees are entitled to take holiday whilst furloughed, however employers are responsible for topping-up pay for any periods of annual leave. Holiday pay should consist of ‘normal pay’ under Working Time Regulations (note that where the rate of pay varies, the reference period for calculating average pay is now 52 working weeks). By way of example the guidance provides “if an employee usually works bank holidays then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave then the employer would either have to top up their usual holiday pay, or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.” This is a helpful clarification, however the guidance notes that “during this unprecedented time, we are keeping the policy on holiday pay during furlough under review.”
• Link to the portal: https://www.access.service.gov.uk/login/signin/creds
• HMRC guidance for employers: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
• HMRC guidance for employees: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
• Guide to working out 80% of wages: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
This is only intended to be a summary and not specific legal advice.
We have been helping lots of employers navigate their way through the government’s guidance about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has changed frequently and contains lots of (perhaps unintended) bear traps! If you need any help or would like further information about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or advice generally about managing your workforce during these unprecedented times, please do contact a member of our employment law team.