Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Updated: Jan 27

29 April 2020

In the framework of COVID-19 outbreak the UK faced an economic emergency. Therefore, the UK Government has announced the unprecedented measures to help businesses and families.


The following measure has been announced for these challenging times and it is a temporary measure only.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)


CJRS will allow all UK employers with employees on a PAYE scheme to designate those employees as ‘furloughed workers’ (‘furlough’ generally means temporary leave of absence from work). The employer will have access to government support to continue paying part of these furloughed employees’ salaries and protect the employees from redundancy.


HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month plus ERS NIC, auto-enrol pension (3%). The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) opened for claims on 20 April 2020 via the Government Gateway.


What are the sheme conditions?


The loan limits under CBILS are a minimum of £1,000 and a maximum of £5,000,000. No interest will be due for the first 12 months.


For every hour not worked by the employee, both the Government and employer will pay a third each of the usual hourly wage for that employee.


• Grant payments will be made in arrears, reimbursing the employer for the Government’s contribution.

• “Usual wages” calculations will follow a similar methodology as for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Full details will be set out in guidance shortly.

• Employers must pay employees their contracted wages for hours worked, and the Government and employer contributions for hours not worked.


What does it mean to be on reduced hours?


• The employee must be working at least 33% of their usual hours.

• For the time worked, employees must be paid their normal contracted wage.


Which employers are eligible?


Any employer (of any size) is eligible for the scheme. This includes:

  1. businesses;

  2. charities;

  3. recruitment agencies

  4. public authorities.

To be eligible the employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 and have a UK bank account.


All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.


Large businesses will have to meet a financial assessment test, so the scheme is only available to those whose turnover is lower now than before experiencing difficulties from Covid-19. There will be no financial assessment test for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).


Which employees can we claim for?


Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll (RTI) on 19 March 2020 for 2019/20 (was 28 February 2020), and can be on any type of contract, including:

  1. full-time employees;

  2. part-time employees;

  3. employees on agency contracts

  4. employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts.

Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment to that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 23 September 2020.


In order to support viable jobs, for the first three months of the scheme the employee must work at least 33% of their usual hours. After 3 months, the Government will consider whether to increase this minimum hours threshold.


Employees will be able to cycle on and off the scheme and do not have to be working the same pattern each month, but each short-time working arrangement must cover a minimum period of seven days.


How does it work?


Self-employed people cannot apply for this measure yet. HM Revenue & Customs will contact eligible self-employed individuals and provide access to online application.


After providing such access, self-employed will be asked to fill in an online form. This scheme will work only through GOV.UK.


Examples


• Beth normally works 5 days a week and earns £350 a week. Her company is suffering reduced sales due to coronavirus. Rather than making Beth redundant, the company puts Beth on the Job Support Scheme, working 2 days a week (40% of her usual hours).

• Her employer pays Beth £140 for the days she works.

• And for the time she is not working (3 days or 60%, worth £210), she will also earn 2/3, or £140, bringing her total earnings to £280, 80% of her normal wage.

• The Government will give a grant worth £70 (1/3 of hours not worked, equivalent to 20% of her normal wages) to Beth’s employer to support them in keeping Beth’s job.


Hours Employee Worked 33% 40% 50% 60% 70%


Hours Employee Not Working 67% 60% 50% 40% 30%

Employee Earnings (% of normal) 78% 80% 83% 87% 90%


Gov’t Grant (% of normal wages) 22% 20% 17% 13% 10%


Employer Cost (% normal wages) 55% 60% 67% 73% 80%


What is the maximum amount of support and when will this support package be available?


£2,500 per month. At present, the support package is only available for 3 months (and the maximum claim available is £7,500).The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month.


What are the financial terms?


Financial terms are:

  • up to 6 years for term loans and asset finance facilities;

  • up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities.

The scheme will be open from 1 November 2020 to the end of April 2021. Employers will be able to make a claim online through Gov.uk from December 2020. They will be paid on a monthly basis.


Claims conditions

  1. Employers can claim for any regular payments they are obliged to pay employees: wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments. Discretionary bonus (including tips) and commission payments and non-cash payments should be excluded.

  2. The employer and employee can agree to vary holiday entitlement as part of the furlough agreement. Employees can take holiday whilst on furlough.

  3. Grants will be payable in arrears meaning that a claim can only be submitted in respect of a given pay period, after payment to the employee has been made and that payment has been reported to HMRC via an RTI return.

  4. HMRC will check claims. Payments may be withheld or need to be paid back if anclaim is found to be fraudulent or based on incorrect information. Grants can only be used as reimbursement for wage costs actually incurred.

  5. Employers must agree the new short-time working arrangements with their staff, make any changes to the employment contract by agreement, and notify the employee in writing. This agreement must be made available to HMRC on request.

Employees who have previously been furloughed, will have their underlying usual pay and/or hours used to calculate usual wages, not the amount they were paid whilst on furlough.


What is limitation of support?


The minimum size of an individual security that can be sold from an individual participant is £1 million nominal. Offers should be rounded to the closest £0.1 million. Our expectation is that large employers using the Job Support Scheme will not be making capital distributions, such as dividend payments or share buybacks, whilst accessing the grant. Further details will be set out in guidance.


The grant will not cover Class 1 employer NICs or pension contributions, although these contributions will remain payable by the employer.


Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee.


Summary


The above-mentioned measure is a temporary measure only. The UK Government, the banks and other related parties are in the process of defining and agreeing the details and specifications. Therefore, the information regarding new measures will be changed and updated in the coming months.


The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the burden of hours not worked will be split between the employer and the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.



For further information on any of the points above contact

Mikita Makayou at mikita@lexefiscal.com, or

Dr. Frank at clifford.frank@lexefiscal.com.


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