Update: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The government has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS“) with UK currently going through its third lockdown. Current Government guidance is available on their website.

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What are the main changes?

Caring Responsibilities

The government has updated the CJRS guidance to state that employers can furlough employees who have caring responsibilities including caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing and caring for vulnerable individuals in their household.

Deadlines and publishing claims

Monthly deadlines for claims must be now met unless an employer has a ‘reasonable excuse’ for a late claim; the next deadline is 15 February 2021. In addition to the above, HMRC intends to publish a list of the names of employers who have claimed under the scheme since 1 December 2020 on 26 January 2021, and from February HMRC will publish employer names, company numbers and the band of claim value every month.

Any applications by employers who wish to be excluded from publication the procedure for doing so has now been added to the guidance and must be made as soon as possible. HMRC will not publish details of employers if they can show that publicising these would result in a serious risk of violence or intimidation to certain relevant individuals, or any individual living with them. For more information see this link.

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

The legal framework for the Scheme was set out in a Treasury Direction on 15 April, a legally-binding order from the Treasury to HMRC. The purpose of the Scheme is to reimburse employers for the cost of furloughing employees “arising from the health, social and economic emergency in the United Kingdom resulting from coronavirus and coronavirus disease.” HMRC guidance on the Scheme has been expanded and republished a number of times since it was first launched:

  1. The original scheme introduced in March 2020;
  2. The flexible CJRS, which came into force on 1 July 2020; and
  3. the extended CJRS which took effect on 1 November 2020 and which is due to end on 30 April 2021.

What does ‘furlough’ mean?

Furlough basically means temporary leave of absence. The purpose of the CJRS is to ensure that employees are not made redundant and to incentivise employers to retain employees on paid temporary leave. The Government has been subsidising the earnings of furloughed employees under the CJRS (initially up to 80% of earnings, capped at £2,500 per month per employee) and these monies are not repayable.

How do you make a claim?

HMRC have helpfully laid out a step-by-step guidance below:

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