As anticipated, the HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) portal went live on 20 April 2020. Under the JRS employers can reclaim 80% of workers' wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per worker, per month before tax from the government.  There have been some teething problems with reports that the system crashed a number of times but that is not surprising given that 140,000 employers are reported to have submitted an application on the first day alone.

Several versions of JRS guidance have now been issued, there is still some confusion but the key updates are as follows:

  • The JRS has been extended to 30 June 2020.
  • Employees continue to accrue holiday during the furlough period however employees must be paid at their 100% pre furlough rate of pay. Employers can therefore submit a claim for 80% pay for a holiday day but must top up the balance to 100%.
  • Employers must confirm to employees in writing that they have been furloughed. There had been some confusion as guidance issued last week stated that consent from an employee was required however this has now been clarified to confirm that there needs to be a written record but the employee does not have to provide a written response. A record of this communication must be kept for five years.
  • Employees who were employed on 19th March 2020 (previously 28 February 2020) are now eligible to be placed on furlough leave provided the employer had submitted real time information payroll data by that date.
  • HMRC has set up a portal to enable reports to be made about employers claiming fraudulently or requiring employees to work despite being furloughed.
  • HMRC can audit claims and either not pay or require repayment of any grants claimed fraudulently.

Please click here to review guidance on information employers need to provide to HMRC to submit a claim under the Scheme.

Aisling's previous article on the Job Retention Scheme can be found here.

This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Employment team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.