CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME
One major benefit that has been introduced by the Chancellor to protect jobs is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”).
HMRC will reimburse 80% of ‘furloughed’ workers’ wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per employee per month. “Furlough” is the term being used to describe when an employee’s job is being kept open but they are not required to work.
This will ensure that employees at least have some funds coming into their households to pay their own food and bills. Since some may not have travel costs, they will not necessarily be much worse off.
HOW TO USE CJRS:
- Review employee lists and notify any of those who are being put on furlough. The notice must be in writing. You should always check with HR and/or your legal adviser before issuing any notice and ensure that there is no implication of discrimination.
- The furlough wages will be taxed and subject to employers and employees NI in the same way as normal wages.
- Auto Enrolment pension contributions will be deducted in the same way
- HMRC will create a portal for reclaiming the furlough pay. This repayment will include the employers NI and the employers element of the auto enrolment pension contribution. It is unlikely that these funds will be available until May 2020.
- Furloughed employees must not do any work for the business while on furlough.
HMRC will be applying strict anti-fraud regulations to all payments
However there are few unusual situations to consider:
Director of own business; technically, while a business is still operating, a director has duties to perform in their role – such as managing the finances and organising employees. However if a company with only one director and no other employees ceases to trade, there will be an argument for them to receive furlough pay. You should bear in mind that it is only 80% of salary, but not does not include dividends. For many small companies, the furlough pay would therefore only be about £580 per month.
Domestic Staff : Such as nannies, gardeners, carers etc. The published information refers to businesses, but the furlough is still available.
HMRC and the Government are releasing more information on a daily basis, clarifying questions which are being raised in the real world. It is therefore advisable to check back to this page:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme – Hopefully this will be updated on a regular basis.