Details of the new CJRS arrangement have just been published. The scheme is being extended to 31 March which provides significant relief to employers and employees alike. But what’s in the fine print? Are there any catches?
This is what we know so far:
- Claims can be made by employers from Wednesday 11 November for payroll periods commencing on or after 1 November.
- All claims for periods up to 31 October must be submitted on or before 30 November. Late claims will not be accepted.
- Claims for the period starting on or after 1 November must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month end. Late claims will not be accepted.
- Furloughed staff will continue to get 80% of their wages with a cap of £2500 per month.
- Employers will continue to pay NIC and pension contributions for furloughed employees. The situation will be reviewed in January and employers may then have to pay more.
- If staff have been made redundant recently then they can be rehired and put on furlough. This can only apply to former staff who were on the payroll on 23 September 2020 and there must have been an RTI submission prior to this date.
- Employers and their employees do not need to have used the scheme before to claim for periods from 1 November.
- The Job Support Scheme which was going to replace furlough is now on hold.
- The Job Retention Bonus originally set for February 2021 will not now be paid. Alternative incentive arrangements are to be announced.
- Furlough agreements can be backdated to 1 November as long as the employee was genuinely on furlough since then. For this to be effective the backdated agreement must be in place by 13 November.
- Employers should refresh each employee’s existing pre-November furlough agreement to ensure continued periods are covered by a valid agreement.
HMRC intend to publish details of which employers use CJRS for claim periods from December. Employees will be able to find out if their employer has claimed for them under the scheme. What will come out of the woodwork? Be sure that fraudulent claims will be followed up aggressively later down the line.
HMRC’s advice to employers is to keep careful records to support the amount of CJRS’s grants claimed. Remember that a disaffected employee could submit a rogue report which HMRC would be bound to follow up at some stage.
The extension is a generous one and reflects the fact that the government is doing all it reasonably can to protect businesses and jobs.
Call us at C & H Stedman if you have any questions about these new provisions.