Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: seventh and eighth updates to HMRC employer and employee guidance

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: seventh and eighth updates to HMRC employer and employee guidance

 01/05/2020

Employment analysis: The HMRC guidance notes for employers and employees on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) have been updated for a seventh time on 30 April, and the guides for employers on how to calculate 80% of wages for a claim through the CJRS, and on how to submit a claim, have also been updated. The updates to the employer guidance include: (1) clarification that employees may act as trade union or employee representatives while on furlough, (2) a change to the eligibility date where (a) there has been an employee transfer under TUPE or other change of ownership, or (b) where there has been a payroll consolidation, (3) clarification of eligibility for company directors with an annual pay period and (4) how furlough may be extended. Further minor amendments were made to the employer and employee guidance in an eighth update on 1 May.

Guidance for employers: Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 30 April and 1 May 2020)

Guidance for employees: Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 30 April and 1 May 2020)

Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 30 April 2020)

Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 30 April 2020)

Tracked versions

Four track changes documents in PDF format, illustrating the additions, moves and deletions that have occurred in the HMRC guidance for:

can be accessed here:

HMRC employer guidance on the CJRS: track changes comparison between 23 and 30 April versions

HMRC employee guidance on the CJRS: track changes comparison between 23 and 30 April versions

HMRC calculation guidance on the CJRS: track changes comparison between 27 and 30 April versions

HMRC claims page for CJRS: track changes comparison between 27 and 30 April versions

Seventh update: key updates and additions to the guidance

Key additions and updates to the employer guidance made in the 30 April revisions are:

  • clarification that, while on furlough, employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers. This will be welcome reassurance for employers who are considering undertaking collective consultation with employees on furlough that such activities will not constitute work and contravene the requirements of the CJRS. The guidance goes on to repeat that, in doing this, the employees must not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the employer’s organisation or a linked or associated organisation

  • a change to the eligibility date where there has been an employee transfer under TUPE or other change of ownership: the 15 April version of the guidance updated the relevant date for these purposes from 28 February 2020 to 19 March 2020; this appeared to have the effect of leaving both the former and the ‘new’ employer of employees who transferred between 28 February and 19 March unable to claim in respect of those employees. This has now been changed in the 30 April version, with the relevant date reverting to 28 February

  • a similar date change is made in relation to payroll consolidations: where a group of companies have multiple PAYE schemes and there is a transfer of all employees from these schemes into a new consolidated PAYE scheme after 28 February 2020 (formerly this read 19 March 2020), the new scheme will be eligible to furlough those employees and claim the grants available under the CJRS

  • however, the Treasury Direction, which provides the statutory basis for the CJRS, still states that the relevant date in both the scenarios above is 19 March 2020 (as the guidance previously stated) not 28 February. The date amendments to the guidance widen the ambit of the CJRS to bring those who were the subject of a relevant transfer or payroll consolidation between 28 February and 19 March 2020 within its scope and so will be welcomed. However, the amendments clearly conflict with the provisions of the Treasury Direction itself and so it is perhaps to be hoped that the Treasury Direction will also be amended, to ensure consistency

  • clarification regarding eligibility for company directors with an annual pay period: those paid annually are eligible to claim, as long as they meet the relevant conditions, ie including being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020, which relates to a payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year. The requirement for there to be payment of earnings in the 19/20 tax year applies for any employee being claimed for under the scheme, irrespective of how frequently they are paid (eg weekly, fortnightly or monthly). This will be relevant for those on an annual pay period if the last payment notified to RTI was before 5 April 2019 and no further payments were notified until after 19 March 2020

  • this updated section of the guidance also notes that an employer can make their claim in anticipation of an imminent payroll run, at the point they run their payroll or after they have run their payroll

  • confirmation that a period of furlough can be extended by any amount of time while the employee is on furlough, as long as the minimum furlough period of three consecutive weeks overall applies (ie it is not necessary for the employee to be brought back after the period initially agreed and then re-furloughed); however, the scheme end date (currently 30 June, although this may be further extended) will be the last date that employers can claim for under the CJRS

  • a note in relation to maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave and parental bereavement leave that, although the normal rules for these types of leave apply, employers may need to calculate an employee’s average weekly earnings differently, if the employee was furloughed and then started leave on or after 25 April 2020

Corresponding amendments are made to the employee guidance in relation to:

  • maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave and parental bereavement leave; the employee guidance goes on to state that:

    • if the employee’s earnings have reduced because they were put on furlough or were off sick before their maternity leave started, this may affect their SMP

    • if the employee’s earnings have reduced because they were put on furlough and then they started family-related statutory leave on or after 25 April 2020, the amount they receive in pay should not be affected. This is due to the effect of the Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, Statutory Shared Parental Pay and Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (Normal Weekly Earnings etc) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020, SI 2020/450, which amend five sets of regulations relating to family-related statutory pay, to ensure that an employee’s eligibility for family-related statutory pay and their earnings-related rate of statutory pay is the same as it would have been had they not been furloughed under the CJRS. However those amendments have effect only from 25 April 2020—see Practice Note: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme—Effect of furlough on statutory payments to employees

    • if the employee started family-related statutory pay before 25 April 2020, their entitlement may be affected (as the amendment regulations mentioned immediately above were not then in effect)

    • the same rules apply to adoption pay, paternity pay, shared parental pay and parental bereavement pay

  • how the employer should calculate 80% of the employee’s wages for the purposes of making a claim under the CJRS

  • pay when returning from family-related statutory leave

  • pay when returning to work from being on sick pay

  • company directors with annual pay periods

  • confirmation that employees may still undertake union or non-union representatives duties and activities for the purpose of an individual or collective representation of employees or other workers

The calculation guidance is updated:

  • to confirm that the online calculator cannot be used for employees who have an annual pay period

  • in relation to how claims for employees returning from family-related statutory leave should be calculated

  • to add a maximum daily wage amount for June 2020 (£83.34 per day)

  • to give further detail about claiming Nation Insurance contributions (NICs), including making adjustments for the Employment Allowance

  • with extensively re-worked examples

The making claims guidance has a very minor amendment, requiring employers who have one of more employees without a National Insurance number to contact HMRC (see also: Job Retention Scheme applications for employees with no National Insurance Number LNB News 28/04/2020 1).

Eighth update: minor amendments

Further minor amendments were made to the employer guidance and the employee guidance on 1 May.

Two track changes documents in PDF format, illustrating the additions, moves and deletions that have occurred in the HMRC guidance for:

  • employers, between the 30 April and 1 May versions

  • employees, between the 30 April and 1 May versions

can be accessed here:

HMRC employer guidance on the CJRS: track changes comparison between 30 April and 1 May versions

HMRC employee guidance on the CJRS: track changes comparison between 30 April and 1 May versions

The amendments:

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