How do I access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
The scheme is being administered by HMRC under a new online portal that has been set up. It applies to businesses, charities, recruitment agencies, individuals who employ a nanny, administrators (where there is a reasonable likelihood of re-hiring the workers) and public authorities.
All employers with a UK payroll can apply as long as you have:
- Created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020
- Enrolled for PAYE online (which can take up to 10 days)
- A UK bank account.
To make a claim you will need:
- The number of employees being furloughed
- The start and end date of the claim
- The name and National Insurance Numbers for each furloughed employee
- Your employer PAYE reference number
- To be registered for PAYE online
- The Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference, Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number as appropriate for your entity
- Your UK bank account details and sort code
- Your name and contact number
- Your organisation’s registered name
- Your organisation’s billing address
- The full amounts you are claiming for including:
- Employee wages
- Employer national insurance contributions
- Employer minimum pension contributions
For claims for those who are flexibly furloughed you will also need:
- the number of usual hours the employee would work during the claim period
- the hours the employee has worked or will work during this period
- you will also need to keep a record of the number of furloughed hours that the employee has or will be furloughed for.
You will need the above information ready before you access the system to make a claim. You will also need to have calculated the amounts claimed in advance as the application needs to be completed in one session. You can currently save one draft of the application and it must be completed within 7 days of starting it.
The Government has issued a step-by-step guide for employers who wish to make a claim under the scheme which can be found using the link below. It contains useful information about calculating the payments claimed. You will need to register for a Government Gateway ID and password if you do not yet have one in order to access the portal.
If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf. If you use a file only agent (who files your RTI return but doesn’t act for you on any other matters) they won’t be authorised to make a claim for you and you will need to make the claim yourself. A file only agent can assist you in obtaining the information required to make a claim (listed above). If an agent makes a claim on your behalf you will need to tell them which bank account you would like the grant to be paid into.
For claims for fewer than 100 employees you will need to input the details separately for each employee. If claiming for more than 100 employees you can upload a file with the information instead. The file should include the following information for each furloughed employee: name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, payroll/employee number (optional). You will also need to include details of hours normally worked, actual hours worked and hours furloughed for those who are flexibly furloughed.
The need to demonstrate the impact of coronavirus on your business is not one of the criteria listed above about who can make a claim, so the government does not appear to intend to set a specific test to determine if a business is “severely impacted by coronavirus”. You are not required to explain the impact of Coronavirus on your business when submitting your claim.
HMRC will retain the right to audit any claim retrospectively. You must keep records for 6 years including:
- the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
- the claim reference number
- you calculations for each claim
- details of hours usually worked and hours actually worked for flexibly furloughed employees.
You must tell your employees that you have made a claim under the scheme, and you must continue to pay their wages during this time.
The Flexible Furlough Scheme, ‘FFS’ an unfortunate acronym, allows employees to work for some of the week and be furloughed for the rest.
- A taxable grant worth 80% of the average monthly profit over the last three years (one or two years will be reviewed for those who do not have three years of tax returns)
- The grant will be capped at £2,500 per month
- The scheme was initially available for three months and has been extended as necessary
- Individuals claiming a grant can continue to do business (unlike employees who must not work when furloughed)
The best advice is that parties should proceed as they would have done before the crisis began.
In part in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, legislation was passed by the government earlier this year which sought to assist companies to trade through the current economic climate. Included within the measures is a degree of protection from compulsory winding up.
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (The Act), was laid before parliament on 20 May, and became law on 26 June. It is important creditors are aware of what changes have been implemented and the potential and impact which it may have upon debt recovery action you may be considering or have already commenced.
The main part of the Act affecting creditors is the temporary restriction on presentation of winding up petitions and the factors that the Court has to take into account when deciding whether to wind up a company.
On Thursday 24 September 2020 the government passed a further statutory instrument which extended the operation of these restrictions. As a result, the measures which were due to expire on Wednesday 30 September 2020 have now been extended until 31 December 2020.
A key point to note is that the Act has retrospective effect so any pending petitions presented after 27 April will be affected, along with any winding up orders made after that date.
The Act has introduced the following restrictions:
- A petition cannot be presented by a creditor during the period of 27 April 2020 and 31 December 2020 unless the creditor has reasonable grounds to believe that (a) coronavirus has not had a financial effect on the debtor, or (b) the debtor would have been unable to pay its debts even if coronavirus had not had a financial effect on the debtor;
- A petition cannot be presented after 27 April 2020 if it is based on a unsatisfied statutory demand served between 1 March 2020 until 31 December 2020;
- When deciding whether to make a winding up order the Court will need to be satisfied that the grounds giving rise to the petition would have arisen even if Covid-19 did not have a financial effect on the debtor;
- All winding up orders made between the 27 April and 31 December will automatically be void (that is, of no legal effect) unless the Court would have made the winding up order if the new law was in force at the time the order was made.
Where an apprentice is made redundant the training provider should support the apprentice in seeking alternative employment within a 12 week period. ESFA will support this process. Where an apprentice is placed on unpaid leave or the nature of their employment no longer supports their apprenticeship, it should be considered whether a break in learning would be appropriate.
An employer who wishes to make an apprentice redundant should seek advice on the process to be followed for this.