In preparation for the national lockdown schedule for the period between 5th November and 2nd December 2020, the government has announced that the Corona-virus Job Retention Scheme, (“CJRS”) which was due to close on 31st October 2020, will remain open until December.
In addition, the Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the CJRS ends.
How it works
The extended CJRS scheme appears to be more generous for employers than it was in October and is hoped to protect lives and livelihoods by facilitating a second national lockdown. The guidance confirms that: -
• Under the extended CJRS, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.
• Employers are permitted to use flexible furlough or full-time furlough depending on their needs.
• For hours not worked by the employee, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and as before, the grant must be paid to the employee in full.
• For hours worked by the employee, employers will pay employees in the normal way.
• Employers are able to top up employee wages at their own expense, if they wish to do so.
• The Government is due to confirm when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November, but there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension.
As before, all employers (small/large/charitable or non-profit) with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes will be able to claim under the extended CJRS. Whilst more guidance is due to follow, the guidance currently stipulates as follows: -
• Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
• To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on the employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020 which means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020.
• Employers can claim the CJRS for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period.
• When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
Given the announcement, we would recommend consulting with employees about any changes to their working pattern and pay, especially in light of the scheduled lockdown. It is also advisable to record any agreement in writing as it is likely that records will need to be retained for 5 years. If you need assistance or advice on the contents of this article, please contact Thackray Williams LLP who have set up a FREE Legal Advice Line to businesses and employees in the wake of COVID-19. Do get in touch on 020 8663 4127 if you wish to discuss this matter in more detail or require any advice.
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