What is the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
All employers in the UK are eligible to participate in the scheme. The purpose of the scheme is to allow employers to claim back employment costs if they have furloughed employees arising from the coronavirus crisis. Importantly this means the scheme is not limited to cases where the employee would otherwise have been made redundant.
- Between 1 November 2020 – 30 June 2021, the government will reimburse employers for 80% of wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, with employers expected to contribute 10% of that 80% in July 2021 and 20% of that 80% in August and September 2021. Employers will still need to pay employer NICs and employer pension contributions (these cannot be claimed for).
- The scheme now also allows employees to return to work part time being on furlough for the remainder. See flexible furlough above for more information.
- The employer can agree to pay the employee more than it will be reimbursed but it cannot reclaim the additional amount or any other costs associated with the additional amount.
- The workers covered by the scheme are those who have been “furloughed” which is a leave of absence.
- Workers must be told about and agree to this change of status (see below).
- Employers have to continue to pay the furloughed workers and the Government will reimburse the employer.
- HMRC is administering the scheme and it has been extended until the end of September 2021
- Those who left employment and are re-employed and subsequently furloughed by agreement are eligible (please see the FAQ regarding redundancy and furlough above).
- Payments may be withheld if claims are based on inaccurate or dishonest information, or are found to be fraudulent. HMRC has put in place an online hotline for employees and the general public to report suspected fraudulent claims.
- The Government has made alternative help available for employers to continue to pay employees while the scheme is set up.