UK Government COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme
On 29 May, the Chancellor set out more details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will continue to support jobs and business as people return to work. From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time. This is a month earlier than previously announced to help support people back to work. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.
The scheme updates mean that the following will apply for the period people are furloughed:
- June and July: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything. 31 July is the last day that you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June.
- August: The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
- September: The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 14% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
- October: The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
To access the scheme you will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through the online portal
The UK Government has published updated guidance on how the scheme will change from 1 July, including:
- How employers can bring previously furloughed employees back to work part-time from 1 July (known as flexible furloughing) and how many employees they can claim for in any one claim;
- How to claim, and the information employers will need to do so;
- Details of calculating claim amounts; and
- More information on amending claims.
The UK Government’s A Plan for Jobs 2020 (8 July) included a new Job Retention Bonus to encourage firms to keep on furloughed workers.
Further details of the Job Retention Bonus have been announced (31 July)
The bonus – announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Plan for Jobs last month – will see businesses receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January next year.
A policy statement published by HMRC gives employers further details on eligibility requirements and how they can claim the bonus. Under the terms:
- employers will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021
- to ensure the jobs are meaningful well-paid, employees must earn at least £520 (the National Insurance lower earnings limit) a month on average between the beginning of November and the end of January
- those who were furloughed and had a claim submitted for them after the 10 June (when the CJRS closed to new entrants), because they were returning from paternal leave or time serving as a military reservist will also be eligible for the bonus as long as they meet the other eligibility criteria
- employers will also be eligible for employee transfers protected under TUPE legislation, provided they have been continuously employed and meet the other eligibility criteria and the new employer has also submitted a CJRS claim for that employee
Parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough
The UK Government has confirmed (9 June) that people on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the UK government’s furlough scheme even after 10 June cut-off date. This will only apply where they work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees. This applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave.
UK Government Statutory Sick Pay - Employer
This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020. Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP(according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
To access the scheme:
- Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
- Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force
- The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
UK Government Statutory Sick Pay – Employee [LIVE]
Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by coronavirus.
To access the scheme:
- If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.