Following the Government’s announcement on Saturday, please see below updates that we are aware of. There is more information to come, so we will send this to you in further Briefings when we receive it.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the Furlough scheme.
This Scheme will now remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended Scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current Scheme, which ended on 31 October 2020. This means the extended Furlough Scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.
Businesses will have flexibility to bring Furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or Furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and Employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5% of total employment costs for the hours the employee does not work. Hours worked and associated costs will be paid by the employer as normal.
· This extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will operate as the previous Scheme did, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs.
However, there will be a short period whilst HMRC change the legal terms of the Scheme and update their systems, so businesses will need to be paid in arrears for that period.
· Flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time Furloughing.
· Further details, including how to claim this extended support through an updated claims service, will be provided shortly.
· The Job Support Scheme will be introduced following the end of the CJRS.
Who is eligible?
· 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 CJRS, however, the employee must have been on a payroll RTI submission at 30 October 2020 – see below.
· The Government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the Scheme, as has already been the case for CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers.
· To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30 October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30 October 2020.
· Employees can be on any type of contract. Employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with employees.
· Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Such calculations will broadly follow the same methodology as currently under the CJRS.
· When claiming the CJRS grant for Furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
· Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
· For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
What support is being provided and employer costs:
· For hours not worked by the employee, the Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. The grant must be paid to the employee in full.
· Employers will pay employer NICs and pension contributions, and should continue to pay the employee for hours worked in the normal way.
· As with the current CJRS, employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the Scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.
· The Government will confirm shortly when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November, but there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension.
If we undertake your Company’s Payroll we shall be making contact over the course of this month so Furlough claims can be processed once the underlying Payroll has been completed.
Job Support Scheme
This was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1 November, but has now been postponed until the Furlough scheme ends.
Mortgage payment holidays will no longer end today. Borrowers who have been impacted by Coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
The FCA will announce further information in due course.
In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly on a discretionary basis.
Please refer to your Local Authority’s website for details on how to claim, however, please note there may be a few days delay for the detail to arrive.
Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
· For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
· For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
· For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
Business grant policy is fully devolved so a business under the remit of one of the Devolved Administrations will need to refer to their specific pronouncements in this regard. The above is England only.
Job Retention Bonus
Looking at HMRC’s website this morning the pages in this regard were last updated on 2 October 2020, so have not been updated in light of the extension of the CJRS/Furlough Scheme. We shall have to Brief again once the detail on whether this extension of the Furlough scheme impacts the payment or qualification criteria for the above Bonus, currently due to be claimed from 15 February 2021.
Statutory Sick Pay Scheme
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees.
Who can use the Scheme?
This Scheme is for employers. You can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:
· You have already paid the employee’s sick pay and as the employer you are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to Coronavirus
· you have a PAYE Payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
· you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes
Employees do not have to give you a Doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:
· an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19);
· a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their Doctor or Health Authority advising them to shield because they are at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus
The Scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
· full-time employees
· part-time employees
· employees on agency contracts
· employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
· fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)
Employees who have transferred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)
You can make a claim for SSP paid due to Coronavirus to employees who have been transferred to you under TUPE if you had:
· a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
· fewer than 250 employees (including TUPE transferred employees) across all PAYE payroll schemes on 28 February 2020
If you did not have a PAYE scheme that was created on or before 28 February 2020, but the previous employer did, you can make a claim if they had fewer than 250 employees across all their PAYE schemes on that date.
As the new employer, you can only make claims for SSP that you have paid, a claim cannot include SSP paid by the previous employer.
If you are claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.
State aid limits
Your claim amount should not take you above the State id limits under the EU Commission temporary framework. This is when combined with other aid received under the framework. The maximum level of State aid that a business may receive is €800,000. There is a lower maximum for agriculture at €100,000 and aquaculture and fisheries at €120,000.
Connected companies and Charities
Connected companies and Charities can also use the Scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees was fewer than 250 on 28 February 2020.
The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:
· have coronavirus symptoms
· are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
· are self-isolating because they have been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they have come into contact with someone with Coronavirus
· are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks
· have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days
You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.
You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:
· 13 March 2020 – if your employee had Coronavirus, or the symptoms, or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
· 16 April 2020 – if your employee was shielding because of Coronavirus
· 28 May 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS or Public Health bodies that they have come into contact with someone with Coronavirus
· 26 August 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery
Most people are asked to self-isolate for 3 days before surgery. In this case, the day of surgery will be the 4th day of their period of incapacity for work. You cannot claim repayment of SSP for the day of surgery or any other days when the absence is not due to coronavirus.
A ‘qualifying day’ is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate is now £95.85. If you are an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid
If an employee has returned to the UK
Since 8 June 2020, people entering or returning to the UK may have been required to quarantine for 14 days. If an employee is unable to work during this period, they will not qualify for SSP unless they also meet one of the above criteria
Records you must keep
You must keep records of SSP that you have paid and want to claim back from HMRC.
You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:
· the dates the employee was off sick;
· which of those dates were qualifying days;
· The reason they said they were off work – if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
· the employee’s National Insurance number
You will need to print or save your State Aid Declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.
How to claim
You must have paid your employees’ sick pay before you claim it back.
The claim is actioned through your Payroll submissions. Do call us if you run your own Payroll and need assistance.
For those on low incomes who have lost income because they have been required by law to self-isolate from 28 September and cannot work from home, can claim a support payment from their Local Authority, however, this claim must be actioned by them as individuals not by you as their employer
Self Employed Income Support Scheme
No updates have been issued in this regard as yet. We will Brief again should that change.