Important Furlough Scheme Updates
The Chancellor has set out more details on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue to support jobs and business as people return to work, following the announcement of an extension of the scheme on 12th of May. So far, the CJRS has helped one million employees across the UK furlough 8.4 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods. In addition the government’s self-employment income support scheme will be extended giving more security to individuals whose livelihoods are adversely affected by coronavirus in the coming months.
Coronavirus furlough scheme to finish at end of October
The UK’s coronavirus furlough scheme will finish at the end of October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed. At the No 10 briefing, Mr Sunak also set out how employers will have to start sharing the cost of the scheme. From August, employers must pay National Insurance and pension contributions, then 10% of pay from September, rising to 20% in October. Also, workers will be allowed to return to work part-time from July, but with companies paying 100% of wages. Mr Sunak said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will adjust so “those who are able to work can do so” He also announced that the self-employment income support scheme will be extended with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6570. We now have further details on the extension of the coronavirus job retention scheme, including improved flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time in July, and a new taper requiring employees to contribute modestly to furloughed salaries.
From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring fellow 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 well in work.
Those eligible under the SEISS, which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits paid out in a single instalment covering three months worth of profits, and capped at £6570 in total.
From August 2020, the level of government grant provided through the CJRS will slowly taper to reflect that people will be returning to work. That means that for June and July the government will continue to pay 80% of people salaries. In the following months, businesses will be asked to contribute a modest share, but crucially individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to 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 £2500 as well as ER NICs and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.
August: the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2500. 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 £2187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2500. 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 £187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2500. For the average claim, this represents 23% of the gross employment costs the employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.
Rishi Sunak said “ now as we begin to reopen our country and kickstart our economy, these schemes will adjust to ensure those who are able to work can do so, while remaining amongst the most generous in the world.“ Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours and employees would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked. Employees who believe they are not getting their 80% share can also report any concerns to the HMRC fraud hotline. HMRC will not hesitate to take action against those found to be abusing the scheme.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Around 40% of employers have not made a claim for employer NICs costs or employer pension contributions and so will be unaffected by the change in August if their employees employment patterns do not change.
Many smaller employers have some or all of their employer NIC bills covered by the employment allowance so will not be significantly impacted.
Around 25% of CJRS monthly claims are below the threshold where employer NICs and automatic enrolment pension contributions are due, and so no employer contribution would be expected for these payments to furloughed employees in August.
To enable the introduction of part time furloughing, and support those already furloughed back to work, claims from July onwards will be restricted to employees currently using the scheme and previously furloughed employees. The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June with the last three week furlough is before that point commencing on 10 June.
From first July, employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with previously furloughed employees.
When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week, for grants to be calculated accurately across working patterns.
Important furlough scheme updates that you need to know
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.
This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10 June, in order for the current 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
Self-employment income support scheme
Individuals can continue to apply for the first SEISS grant until 13th July. Under the first grant, Eligible individuals can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months worth of profits, and capped at £7500 in total. Those eligible have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of completing a claim.
Applications for the second grant will be open in August, individuals will be able to claim a second taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months worth of profits, and capped at £6570 in total.
The eligibility criteria are the same for both grants, and individuals will need to confirm that their business has been adversely affected by coronavirus. An individual does not need to have claimed the first grant to receive the second grant: for example, they may only have been adversely affected by COVID-19 in this later phase. Further guidance on the second grant will be published on Friday 12th June.
The updated SEISS and CJRS scheme will continue to operate UK-wide, to the timings set out above. You can read the Chancellor’s guideline in full here.
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