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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update

17th December 2020

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme update
This article was last updated on 17 December at 17:45.

Further to the Chancellor's announcement made on 17 December 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended until April 2021.

Whilst we are awaiting the publication of the updated Treasury Direction, the following details concerning how the CJRS will be applied have been published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC):

  • The CJRS has been extended until April 2021
  • The Government will pay up to 80% of an employee’s salary
  • A monthly salary cap of £2,500 will apply
  • The employer will be responsible for paying National Insurance and pension contributions.

Who is eligible?

The CJRS will be extended to include employers and employees who did not previously use it. The high-level details so far available provides the following guidance:

Employers

  • All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE scheme can claim the grant
  • The Government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the CJRS
  • Partially public funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues are disrupted
  • All other requirements apply to employers with no restrictions to the size of the employer as there will be once the Job Support Scheme comes into effect.

Employees

  • Employees must be registered on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020
  • HMRC has confirmed that a Real Time Information submission notifying payment for that employee must have been made on or before 30 October 2020
  • Employees can be on any type of employment contract
  • Employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with their employees
  • Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working (the flexi-furlough scheme)
  • The claim under the flexi-furlough scheme will be calculated by reference to their usual contracted hours less the hours worked.

The Job Retention Bonus will not be paid in February 2021 as originally planned. However, a further retention incentive will be announced at a later date.

Claims under the CJRS will be made arrears and via the HMRC portal which employers are already familiar with. Please plan ahead and ensure claims are submitted on time. The following timetable summarises the latest dates when claims need to be made:

  • 14 January‌‌ 2021 – final date to submit claims for December‌‌ 2020 by 11‌‌:59pm
  • 15‌‌ February‌‌ 2021 – final date to submit claims for January‌‌ 2021 by 11‌‌:59pm
  • 15‌‌ March‌‌ 2021 – final date to submit claims for February‌‌ 2021 by 11‌‌:59pm
  • 14‌‌ April‌‌ 2021 – final date to submit claims for March‌‌ 2021 by 11‌‌:59pm
  • 14‌‌ May‌‌ 2021 – final date to submit claims for April‌‌ 2021 by 11‌‌:59pm.

Action to be taken where excessive claims have been made

Where an employer has claimed too much CJRS grant and it has not already repaid, the employer must notify HMRC and repay the money by the latest of whichever date applies below:

  • 90 days from receiving the CJRS money you’re not entitled to
  • 90 days from the point circumstances changed so that you were no longer entitled to keep the CJRS grant

Where any overpayments are not repaid, HMRC will charge interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant once the overpayment has been identified.

However, there is a facility available to offset any overpayment against the next online claim. Where the employer has claimed too much but does not plan to submit further claims, they can contact HMRC to make arrangements to repay the overstated claim directly.

What if the claim has been understated?

Where the amount claimed has been understated, the claim can be revised within 28 calendar days after the month the claim relates to – unless this falls on a weekend or bank holiday, in which case the deadline is the next weekday.

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