The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, commonly known as CJRS, is a UK Government scheme that aims to assist businesses, business owners and individuals through the financial difficulties arising from the coronavirus outbreak by providing income protection for those employees, who would otherwise be laid off or made redundant during the coronavirus outbreak. It does so by making payments to employers, who apply under the CJRS in relation to qualifying employees.
The key features of the CJRS are:
1. Scheme dates – It is a temporary scheme relating to the period from 1st March 2020 to 30th June 2020. The CJRS may be extended if considered necessary by the Government.
2. Qualifying employers - The CJRS is available to all UK employers (including businesses under the management of an administrator) that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme by 19th March 2020, had enrolled for PAYE online, have a bank account in the UK; and have placed at least 1 employee on furlough.
3. Qualifying employees - Employers can only claim for furloughed employees, who were on the PAYE payroll on or before 19th March 2020 and were notified to HMRC on an RTI (Real Time Information) submission.
4. Redundant employees – Employees made redundant after 28th February 2020 may be rehired and furloughed under the CJRS.
5. Minimum furlough period – Employees must be furloughed for at least 3 weeks.
6. Multiple furlough periods - Employees may be furloughed more than once.
7. No working whilst on furlough – Employees must not carry out any work for or on behalf of the employer which has furloughed the employee. They may carry out paid or unpaid work for others.
8. Statutory rights – Continuity of employment continues to accrue for employees during furlough under the CJRS.
9. Amounts – The CJRS covers (a) The relevant employee’s gross salary up to the lower of 80% of their regular wage or £2,500 per month; (b) Employer’s National Insurance Contributions on (a); and (c) Minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on (a). The latter is 3% of income above the lower limit of qualifying earnings (which is £512 per month until 5th April and will be £520 per month from 6th April 2020 onwards).
10. Calculating salary for the CJRS – This includes actual salary and any regular non-discretionary payments paid to employees (including fees and compulsory commission payments).
11. Making claims – All claims must be made using the HMRC portal, which opened on 20th March2020.
12. Payments - HMRC will make CJRS payments by BACS to the applicant’s UK bank account specified in their application.