We have set out below the more important features of the coronavirus job retention scheme, which includes information on how to calculate wages, and what information is needed to make a claim.
Claims cannot be made more often than every three weeks. At present we have no information about how to submit the claim nor how any of this applies to director only payrolls. The rumour is that directors are covered provided the only work they do is complete their statutory filing responsibilities.
The minimum time someone can be furloughed is three weeks. Wages are based upon 28 February 2020 pay rates for salaried, or average pay for hourly paid.
Employees you can claim for
Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020, and can be on any type of contract, including:
employees on agency contracts
employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. However, those employees who you do place on furlough cannot undertake work for you.
Full time and part time employees
For full time and part time salaried employees, the employee’s actual salary before tax, as of 28 February should be used to calculate the 80%. Fees, commission and bonuses should not be included.
Employees whose pay varies:
If the employee has been employed (or engaged by an employment business) for a full twelve months prior to the claim, you can claim for the higher of either:
the same month’s earning from the previous year
average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year
If the employee has been employed for less than a year, you can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.
If the employee only started in February 2020, use a pro-rata for their earnings so far to claim.
Once you’ve worked out how much of an employee’s salary you can claim for, you must then work out the amount of Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions you are entitled to claim.
What you’ll need to make a claim
Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. Employers may need to seek legal advice on the process. If sufficient numbers of staff are involved, it may be necessary to engage collective consultation processes to procure agreement to changes to terms of employment.
To claim, you will need:
your ePAYE reference number
the number of employees being furloughed
the claim period (start and end date)
amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)
your bank account number and sort code
your contact name
your phone number
You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.
You can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for. Claims can be backdated until the 1 March if applicable.
Remember that you must agree and communicate in writing with your staff that they have been furloughed and I would recommend that both staff and employer sign the notice and both keep copies.