Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended until March 2021

05 November 2020

Additional guidance was released by the government yesterday afternoon, Thursday 5th November 2020, outlining further changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which came into effect on 1st November 2020.


Following the extension of CJRS, it has now been confirmed that the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be postponed.

Alongside this, the Job Retention Bonus Scheme (JRB), will not be paid in February 2021 and a retention incentive will be deployed at the appropriate time. The purpose of the JRB was to encourage employers to keep people in work until the end of January. However, as the CJRS is now being extended to 31 March 2021, the policy intent of the JRB no longer applies.

As a reminder, summarised below are the key points to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) currently

  • The CJRS will operate as per the scheme previously did. Claims can be made in advance (within 14 days of the end of the pay period) and will be paid within 6 days of the claim being submitted. There may be a delay in processing the initial claims due to the system requiring an update to reinstate the scheme.
  • The Scheme will start from 1st November and the August 2020 rates will be used for the claims. This will mean that 80% of wages only can be claimed for each employee that is furloughed
  • Employers will still have to maintain their PAYE and pension liabilities
  • Both Full and flexible Furlough will be allowed during the scheme extension
  • The CJRS is open to all employees, meaning that you don’t need to have already benefited from being in the scheme either in Phase One (Pre July 2020) or Phase Two (Post July 2020)

The Additional guidance has advised the following:

Eligibility

  • One major change is that Directors who had their annual payments for 2019/2020 reported to HMRC after the 19th March 2020, are now able to be included on the scheme, having been excluded up until 31st October 2020. The earnings reported in March 2020 (or up to any point until 30th October 2020 for Directors that report a different annual month) can claim for up to £2500.
  • Previously eligible employees on CJRS will continue to have their reference pay and usual hours calculated as they have been for the scheme up to 31st October 2020
  • Newly eligible employees will be those that;
    • Had earnings for the 2019/2020 tax year reported on an FPS Submission from 20th March 2020 to 19th April 2020, or
    • Had earnings for 2020/2021 reported on an FPS Submission from 6th April 2020 to 30th October 2020

Calculation

Further guidance relating to the calculation is due to be announced on 10th November 2020, what we know so far is:

  • The pay reference period will be;
    • For employees that are fixed rate, the last pay period on or before 30th October 2020
    • For employees that are variable paid, the average over the period from 6th April 2020 to the last pay period on, or before, the day before they were furloughed under this new scheme. Please note, this may produce anomalies as people recently employed may be on a higher rate for furlough than colleagues with longer service.
  • Usual hours are still based on calendar days and will be;
    • For employees that are fixed rate, the contracted hours worked in the last pay period ending on or before 30th October 2020
    • For employees that are variable paid the average hours worked between 6th April 2020 and the day before they were furloughed under this new scheme

Claims

  • The guidance, at the moment, advises that any claims have to be claimed by the 14th of the following month. This would mean that any claim up to 30th November 2020 would have to be claimed by 14th December 2020.
  • Employers must still report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive days and continue to report the actual hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period

Employer Actions

  • For any furlough that has been agreed from 1st November 2020, any contract changes must be issued to employees by 13th November 2020. This was unable to be issued previously as no guidance was issued on what the reference pay / usual hours was going to be from 1st November 2020
  • Communication with your workforce to assist and support any confusion that may have arisen due to the changes that have happened in the last week

Any future changes in regards to the CJRS, the Job Support Scheme or the Job Retention Bonus Scheme will be communicated as they become available.

For further information, or if you have any questions, please contact Brian Robb or your usual AAB contact.

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