15 June 2020
HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) guidance on how to claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been updated to include details on how the scheme will change from 1 July.
See Flexible Furlough under the Job Retention Scheme Q&As and Furlough and the Job Retention Scheme Q&As for a complete guide to changes after 1 July.
The Scheme allows employers to claim for 80% of their employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if they have put the employees on furlough because of coronavirus.
HMRC will provide a file upload template to complete for claim periods starting on or after that date. Templates will available by then and will be available in .xls, .xlsx, .csv and .ods formats.
To make a claim, employers will need details of the full amounts that they are claiming for including: employee wages; employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) (for claims up to 31 July); and employer minimum pension contributions (for claims up to that same date).
It will not be possible to make claims for days in July until the first of that month. The last day that employers can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June will be 31 July.
Employers will also need to check Steps to take before calculating your claim using the CJRS and Calculate how much you can claim using the CJRS, both of which have been updated to include details on how the scheme will change from 1 July.
The worked examples intended to help when calculating an employee's wages, NICs and pension contributions have been similarly brought up-to-date with the latest changes.
Finally, HMRC reminds employees that they cannot claim for themselves but should check if their employer can use the CJRS.
Comment by Peninsula Associate Director of Advisory Kate Palmer
Employers will welcome the guidance on flexible furlough that was released late on the evening of Friday 12 June, though possibly not the format it was provided in. Amendments to several different documents, and further newly created ones, made it difficult to track what is actually changing and how.
However, the guidance gives us more of an idea of how employers will be able to furlough employees flexibly from 1 July 2020.
It seems as though the system is indeed more flexible than the original rules with the minimum three-week period of furlough being removed; the new scheme allows flexible furlough to last for any amount of time.
However, employers will need to be aware that the minimum claim period allowed is seven calendar days.
The second “phase” of the Job Retention Scheme is a marker for its gradual conclusion, which is expected at the end of October 2020. While some employers will be relieved that they are now permitted to meet growing demands from their customer base with a mixture of furlough, work and financial assistance from the Government, the new scheme will not offer help to those who cannot yet open.
Coupled with the introduction of employer contributions to wage costs, the impending end of the scheme will not be good news for all.