What payments can be included in the claim for a grant?
You can claim for regular payments you are obliged to pay staff such as non-discretionary overtime, non-discretionary fees, non-discretionary commission and piece-time payments. Overtime in this context is referred to as ‘past overtime’ in the updated guidance which would suggest that you should use the variable pay calculation (see FAQ above) for those who regularly carry out overtime.
If it is not possible to find work for the employee to do at home, you do have the option of putting the employee on furlough.
On 6 April 2020 the Government published further guidance to clarify the position with apprentices during the Covid-19 outbreak. The full guidance is available from here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-apprentices-employers-training-providers-end-point-assessment-organisations-and-external-quality-assurance-pro
The guidance includes details of the measures implemented by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) in order to provide flexibility in delivering apprenticeships in current circumstances. This includes breaks in learnings, delayed end point assessments and alternative arrangements for end point assessments. These measures apply immediately and until further notice.
There are a number of FAQs within the Government guidance which deal with common queries. The guidance contains some technical provisions and we recommend that you take advice if you are furloughing or making apprentices redundant. If you have any additional queries on the practicalities of implementing the ESFA measures please get in touch.
Further guidance changes to apprenticeships due to coronavirus can be found here.
Failure to comply with the individual consultation obligations could render the dismissal unfair and expose you to a financial penalty of the lower of up to 1 years gross pay or the maximum statutory limit (currently £88,519).
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.
On 7 May the Government published guidance on how contracting parties can act responsibly in order to assist the effort to deal with Covid-19. The guidance seeks to persuade contracting parties to act reasonably and recognise the impact of Covid-19 on contractual counterparties. This will continue to be relevant as business begins to emerge from lockdown.