Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: sixth update to HMRC employer and employee guidance

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: sixth update to HMRC employer and employee guidance

Guidance for employers: Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 23 April 2020)

Guidance for employees: Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 23 April 2020)

Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 23 April 2020)

Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (updated 23 April 2020)

Reporting payments in PAYE Real Time Information from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (23 April 2020)

Tracked versions

Three 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 20 and 23 April versions

HMRC employee guidance on the CJRS: track changes comparison between 17 and 23 April versions

HMRC calculation guidance on the CJRS: track changes comparison between 20 and 23 April versions

Key updates and additions to the guidance

Key additions and updates to the guidance made in the 23 April revisions include:

  • clarification that agreement to furlough employees reached collectively, between an employer and a trade union, is acceptable for the purposes of making a claim under the CJRS

  • certain clarifications in relation to which employees can be claimed for under the CJRS, detailed below

Which employees can be claimed for—clarification

The employer guidance has been amended to add further details in relation to eligibility.

Employers can only claim for furloughed employees that were employed on 19 March 2020 and who were on the employer’s  PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.

A new table sets out further information:

Was the employee employed with you as of this date?Date RTI submission notifying payment was made to HMRCEligible for CJRS?
28 February 2020On or before 28 February 2020Yes
28 February 2020On or before 19 March 2020Yes
28 February 2020On or after 20 March 2020No
19 March 2020On or before 19 March 2020Yes
19 March 2020On or after 20 March 2020No
On or after 19 March 2020On or after 20 March 2020No

Where the employer had employees that were employed on 28 February 2020 but not on 19 March 2020, they are referred to the section of the guidance on employees who were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after 28 February 2020.

Employees made redundant or who stopped working for the employer after 28 February

The wording of this section is slightly changed. It now provides:

  • if an employer made employees redundant, or they stopped working for the employer on or after 28 February 2020, the employer can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages from the date on which the employer furloughed them, even if the employer does not re-employ them until after 19 March 2020.

  • this applies as long as the employee was on the employer’s PAYE payroll as at 28 February 2020, which means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 28 February 2020

This section now also expressly refers employers to the separate section on employees on fixed-term contracts, where the employee was on such a contract. This clarifies that the two sections of the guidance should be read together and not mutually exclusively, removing the cause of some confusion that had arisen over earlier versions of the guidance.

Employees made redundant or who stopped working for the employer after 19 March 2020

This new section clarifies the position in relation to this category of employees.

It provides:

  • if the employer made employees redundant, or they stopped working for the employer on or after 19 March 2020, the employer can re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme from the date on which the employer furloughed them

  • this applies as long as the employee was employed on 19 March 2020 and was on the employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020

This section also expressly refers employers to the separate section on employees on fixed-term contracts, where the employee was on such a contract.

Employees on a fixed-term contract

This section has been completely re-drafted. It now provides:

  • an employee on a fixed term contract can be re-employed, furloughed and claimed for if either:

    • their contract expired after 28 February 2020 and an RTI payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 28 February 2020, or

    • their contract expired after 19 March 2020 and an RTI payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020

  • if the employee’s fixed term contract has not already expired, it can be extended, or renewed. The employer can claim for them if an RTI payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020

  • employees that started and ended the same contract between 28 February 2020 and 19 March 2020 will not qualify for this scheme. This is not specific to employees on fixed-term contracts, the same would apply to employees on all other contracts.

Reporting payments in PAYE Real Time Information from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Separate new guidance Reporting payments in PAYE Real Time Information from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme sets out how and when employers should report to HMRC payments made to employees under the CJRS using the PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) system.

The guidance reiterates that any grant paid to an employer is to be used to pay wages to the employer’s furloughed employees, should be treated in the same way as any wage payment and is subject to all payroll deductions.

The guidance covers PAYE RTI reporting in the following situations:

  • where the employer is using the grant to pay wages

  • where the employer is using the grant to reimburse wages already paid

  • where the employer has not paid any of its employees any wage payments in a tax month

  • where the employer has been only paying its employees 20% of their normal wage until the CJRS grant payment is received

  • where the employer reported wages to HMRC in March 2020 that it did not pay to its employees

  • where the employer pays the full amount of an employee’s normal wage during furlough, claiming back 80% under CJRS

  • if the employer has not paid anything to its employees for March or April

  • if the employer has paid its employees and submitted its RTI submission early

Minor updates to the calculation guidance

The guidance Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has undergone minor amendments, mainly to correct typographical errors.

It also now clarifies that tips that are distributed through troncs (see Practice Note: Taxation of tips and commission payments), as well as tips generally, cannot be included when calculating wages.

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