UPDATED: 15 May 2020
Note: Cut off date moved from 28 February to 19 March.
Note: This scheme has been extended until 31 October 2020
Note: From 1 August employees will be able to work part time whilst still furloughed.
The HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal is now open.
Remember, owner/directors of small limited companies CAN furlough!
You will need the NI number and correct calculation for each employee that you have furloughed.
You must continue to run your payroll as usual… this is a reimbursement of payroll.
On Friday 20 March 2020 the Chancellor announced an unprecedented move that would see the UK Government paying the salaries and wages of UK employees for businesses affected by the Coronavirus shutdown.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will reimburse employers for 80% of workers pay to a cap of £2,500 per month. The reimbursement will be by way of grants.
No limit has been placed on the total amount of funding that has been made available for the scheme.
All UK Businesses are eligible for the scheme which will be administered by HMRC using the PAYE system although we understand that the PAYE system cannot facilitate payments to employers.
To access the scheme employers will have to:
- Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’;
- Register for PAYE online;
- Submit to HMRC information about the employees furloughed and their earnings via a new online portal which HMRC are yet to detail;
- Make wage/salary payments to furloughed workers that will then be reimbursed.
- Grants will be 80% of employment costs plus Employers NIC and the minimum Auto-Enrolment employer pension contribution.
- The minimum amount of time that you can furlough an individual employee is three weeks.
Any employee who was on the payroll as at 19 March 2020 is eligible.
How do I calculate pay?
If the employee has been employed (or engaged by an employment business) for a full 12 months prior to the claim you can claim for the higher of either:
- The same months earnings from the previous year; or
- Average monthly earnings for the year
If the employee has been employed for less than a year you can claim for their monthly earnings since they started work.
What is a ‘furloughed worker’
Furloughed workers are “workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak” per GOV.UK news story.
You must notify a worker that they have been furloughed. This is a change in their employment status and is subject to existing employment law and the contracts of employment that is in place. It may be subject to negotiation.
It is important that you take employment law advice to ensure that you do not open your business up to claims later on.
For clarity this is an employee that you cannot pay because you have no work for them as a result of COVID-19 and under normal circumstances you would have made redundant.
For clarity, a furloughed employee cannot be engaged in any work whatsoever.
How does this help self-employed and director/shareholders of small businesses?
The short answer was no – it now appears to be yes!
See our updated guidance – Owner/Manager Directors can furlough – New Guidance.
It is difficult to see how anyone who is self employed or is the director/shareholder of a small limited company could sensibly do no work whatsoever in their business – even if they are receiving no income there will always be administrative things to do – which perversely may simply be applying for government support for the business.
It is also likely that many of these types of businesses (and we would like to see the government come up with a single definition that encompasses both self employed and director/shareholders) will continue generating some, albeit significantly reduced income.
At present there is an incentive to do no work, rather than try and do some work. This will change on 1 August.
We are anticipating the Government to issue further clarification and guidance and will update this page accordingly.
As you will appreciate the situation is constantly evolving but to speak to our specialist team please contact ATN on 01474 326224. Alternatively, visit the website; tweet @atnpartnership or email email@example.com.