Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Update November 9th 2020:
Following the announcement made by the Prime Minister regarding a national lockdown ending 2nd December 2020, the Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) will remain open until the end of March 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which was due to end at the end of October. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October. The terms of this scheme are due to be reviewed in January 2021.
Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, accounts for just 5% of total employment costs.
The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until further notice.
Points to note:
- As under the current CJRS, flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.
- Employers do not need to have accessed the scheme previously and employees do not need to have been placed on furlough to use this extended scheme.
- To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020.
*As under the current CJRS rules:
- Employees can be on any type of contract. Employers will need to have consulted with and gained agreement with employees and confirmed this in writing. These documents should be kept for five years.
- Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Such calculations will broadly follow the same methodology as currently under the CJRS.
- When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
- Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
- For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
- The furlough scheme cannot be used for employees who are on notice of termination of employment after 1 December 2020. That will apply irrespective of:
- Whether notice was given by the employer or the employee. (It also includes retirement.)
- Whether the notice is statutory or contractual.
- Whether notice has been given which is longer than the statutory or contractual minimum.
- When notice was served.
Other Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the Job Support Bonus and who can we claim for under the Job Support Bonus?
The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.
You’ll be able to claim the bonus between 15 February 2021 and 31 March 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.
You can still claim the bonus if you make a claim for that employee through the Job Support Scheme.
To be eligible for the bonus you must make sure that your employees have been paid at least the minimum income threshold.
To meet the minimum income threshold, you must pay your employee a total of at least £1,560 (gross) throughout the tax months:
- 6 November to 5 December 2020
- 6 December 2020 to 5 January 2021
- 6 January to 5 February 2021
You must pay your employee at least one payment of taxable earnings (of any amount) in each of the relevant tax months.
Q: Is there any financial support for individuals in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 who can’t work from home but are required to self-isolate?
The Government have confirmed a Test and Trace Support payment scheme in certain areas affected by local lockdowns paying £500 to both employed and self-employed people on low incomes who are required to self-isolate from 28 September.
The scheme will only support people who are asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
To be eligible for support payment the person must live in England and:
- have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
- cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
- be claiming at least one of the following benefits: universal credit, working tax credit, income-related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, pension credit or housing benefit.
The payments under this scheme are:
- £130 for those who have tested positive for coronavirus and have to self-isolate for 10 days.
- £182 for qualifying members of an infected person's household who have tested positive for coronavirus and are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
- £13 per day (up to the maximum of £182) if an individual is identified as a non-household contact of another person who has tested positive for coronavirus and is asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days.
The self-isolation days are measured either from the point the person first developed symptoms, or from when they were most recently in contact with the person who tested positive.
The payments will not reduce any other benefits.
Q: What happens if an employee needs to self-isolate
The Government announced measures which entitles employees who have coronavirus, or who cannot work because they are self-isolating to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one.
This includes individuals who do not have symptoms, and those in the same household as others who display symptoms and are following government public health advice to self-isolate. The scheme has been extended to cover those instructed to self-isolate by the NHS test and trace service (see above).
Employers with 250 employees or less can recover two weeks of SSP paid to employees for absences due to coronavirus from 13 March 2020 onwards.
Q: What happens if an employee contracts Coronavirus? Do they still get full pay or sick pay?
If an employee contracts Coronavirus, this should be treated in the same way as any other sickness absence in terms of payment. If the employer normally only pays statutory sick pay (SSP) during sickness absence, then this is what the employee should receive
Q: If an employee was asked to self-isolate or has Coronavirus, would it breach privacy to communicate this to the rest of the employees?
Employers must communicate this to employees. Employers have a duty of care and data protection regulations do not prevent employers honouring their duty to the health and safety of all employees or sharing data with authorities for public health purposes.
You should avoid naming individuals if possible and you should not provide more information than is necessary.
Statutory Sick Pay Refund
The Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme is open for applications. The scheme covers staff SSP payments for up to two weeks of sickness absence when the absence is related to the coronavirus outbreak. Any additional, contractual sick pay is not included.
The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19 on or after 13th March 2020
- employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
- employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
- the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
- the current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week (£94.25 prior to 6th April 2020)
The Scheme covers any members of staff who were on a PAYE payroll scheme created and started before 28 February 2020. This includes:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- employees on agency contracts
- employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
Furloughed staff are not included and should not be receiving SSP. Employers can furlough their employees who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home. Where an employee has been notified to shield and has not been furloughed, the rebate will compensate up to 2 weeks of SSP from 16 April 2020
Is your business eligible?
Businesses are eligible for the scheme if:
- they are UK based
- the business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
Price Pearson are keeping fully up to date with all current government and local agency business support programmes and would be happy to speak to you if you require any assistance. To speak to a member of the team call 01384 456 780 and we will put you in touch with the relevant person.
Last updated: 17 Nov 2020 10:08 AM