Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government have stated they will support employers by paying 80% of salaries under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in order to avoid redundancies.

They have still to release more information on how this can be claimed however we have answered a few questions you may have regarding this scheme.

What does Furlough mean?

The word furlough generally means temporary leave of absence from work. Furlough leave has been introduced by the government during the coronavirus pandemic to mean leave offered which keeps employees on the payroll without them working. As the furloughed staff are kept on the payroll, this is different to being laid off without pay or being made redundant.

People who get furloughed must not work for the employer during the period of furlough but usually return to their job afterwards unless redundancies follow.

Are you eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? (Claiming 80% of employee’s salaries)

Any employer in the country (whatever size) will be eligible for the scheme. Charitable and non-profit organisations are included.

However, the scheme is intended to apply only to employers who cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19. These employers can access support to continue paying part of their employee’s wage, in order to avoid redundancies.

Detailed treasury guidance is expected imminently. This should clarify the mechanics of the scheme; all employers are clearly eligible to apply but we do now know the extent of the evidence required.

Are the payments a grant or a loan?

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers who would otherwise have dismissed employees during this crisis can access payments for part of the employees’ salary. This is a grant which employers do not have to pay back. The scheme will run for three months but may be extended as necessary. The details we have so far are as follows:

  • • HMRC will pay 80% of furloughed workers wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • • HMRC are setting up a new online portal for reimbursement.
  • • The pay will be backdated to wages payable from 1 March 2020.

Can employees still work while being classed as Furlough?

To qualify for the scheme, employees must not undertake work for the employer while furloughed.

The grants do not cover the wages of employees working a reduced schedule due to the virus; the employees must not work for the employer at all during the furlough period.

When will the funding be available?:

This funding will be open to all employers with a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, including charities. Employers can apply for grants of 80% of furloughed employees' monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage, provided they keep the worker employed. HMRC have been working night and day to develop this scheme and more information on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme HMRC are hoping to have this up and running by the end of April 2020.

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