The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)
What is the current status of the CJRS?
- The CJRS was originally scheduled to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS) on 1 November. However, following the introduction of a second lockdown in England starting 5 November, the CJRS has now been extended until 31 March 2021, with contribution levels to be reviewed in January 2021.
- In the meantime, the JSS has been postponed, and the Job Retention Bonus has been withdrawn. The government has promised a replacement incentive scheme in due course.
What does the CJRS cover since 1 November?
- The grant mirrors levels available under the CJRS in August 2020, covering 80% of wages (up to a cap of £2,500) for the hours that employees are furloughed.
- Employers must pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions.
- Employers must pay employees for hours worked as usual and can choose to top-up furloughed wages above the cap.
- Employees can still be “flexibly furloughed,” meaning they can come back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, and employers can still claim for the hours not worked.
- As before, employers are paid upfront under the CJRS. The extended CJRS opened for claims on 11 November for periods from 1 November.
Who is eligible for the extended CJRS?
- All employers with a UK bank account and UK Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme are eligible.
- Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS. This is a notable change — previously the CJRS was available only for employees who had been furloughed by 30 June for at least one three-week period.
- As before, the government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the scheme, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible if their private revenues have been disrupted.
- Employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 11:59 pm on 30 October. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) must have been made on or before 30 October.
- Employees can be on any kind of contract (including those on zero or variable hours contracts). Employers will be able to agree any working arrangements with employees.
- From 1 November, there is no cap on the number of employees that an employer can claim for.
- If employees meet the eligibility criteria, they can also be furloughed if they are:
- on sick leave or self-isolating because of COVID-19;
- clinically extremely vulnerable and unable to work from home following public health guidance; or
- unable to work (including from home) due to caring responsibilities because of COVID-19, e.g., caring for children or a vulnerable person.
- Employees made redundant on or after 23 September can be rehired and put back on furlough, provided the employer made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March and 30 October notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.
- Employees that were on fixed-term contracts that expired after 23 September, and were on payroll on that date, can be reemployed and claimed for, provided the other eligibility criteria are met.
- Employers can continue to claim for furloughed employees serving statutory notice (though grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments). However, the government has stated it will change its approach for claim periods starting on or after 1 December, with further guidance published in late November.
- New employers can claim for employees of a previous business transferred under TUPE or PAYE business succession rules on or after 1 September, provided they were employed by their old or new employer on 30 October. Such employees should also have been on a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March and 30 October.
How should employers claim under the CJRS?
- Employers can claim via HMRC for hours employees are not working. The calculation of employees’ “usual hours” broadly follows the same methodology as before.
- The minimum claim period is seven consecutive calendar days. Employers can determine the length of the claim period. Employers can make a claim up to 14 days before the claim period end date and do not have to wait until the end of a claim period to make their next claim.
- Claims from 1 November have monthly deadlines. They must be submitted 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend, in which case the claim must be submitted on the next working day.
- Employers must report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
What are the key considerations for employers following the CJRS extension?
- Employers may need to urgently review any JSS arrangements they have agreed with employees. Given the more generous government contributions, employers may also seek to change the level of any top-up to furlough pay.
- Employers may also consider placing employees on furlough where such employees would have previously been precluded under the CJRS.
- Any change should be communicated to employees without delay, and employees must consent to any new terms in writing. Any agreement must be consistent with employment, equality, and discrimination laws.
- Furlough agreements could be made retrospectively with effect from 1 November, but only if they were entered into on or before 13 November. Agreements may now therefore only be made prospectively.
- Employers should keep a written record of any furlough agreement for five years, as well as a record of how many hours the employees worked and the number of hours the employees were furloughed for six years.
- On 13 November, a fifth Treasury direction was published that provides that from 1 December an employer will not be able to claim for an employee working their notice period. Employers should consider this if they are planning any redundancies.
What other measures has the government introduced to support employers?
Job Retention Bonus
- Due to the extension of the CJRS, the Job Retention Bonus (which was due to be paid in February) has been withdrawn. The government has promised a replacement incentive scheme in due course.
- Business grants — The government announced on 31 October that businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following grants: (i) for properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under: £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks; (ii) for properties with a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000: £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks; or (iii) for properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over: £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
- Traineeship funding — An additional £111 million will be made available this year to fund work placements and training for 16-to-24-year-olds, which is intended to triple participation in traineeships. Employers will receive £1,000 from the government for each trainee whom they provide with work experience. The government will expand eligibility and provision for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below. Traineeships are government funded, last between six weeks and six months, and are unpaid, but employers typically cover expenses and any support courses.
- Apprenticeship payments — From 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021, employers in England will receive £2,000 from the government for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25 and £1,500 for those age 25 and over. These payments are additional to the current scheme under which employers receive a £1,000 payment for hiring apprentices ages 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. Apprenticeships last one to five years, and apprentices must be paid at least the national minimum wage (NMW).
- Kickstart Scheme — A new £2 billion fund will create six-month work placements for 16-to-24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are deemed at risk of long-term unemployment. Participants must be paid at least the NMW for their age group, and the funding will cover 100% of the NMW for each placement for up to 25 hours per week, including employer NICs and employer minimum auto-enrolment contributions. Employers may top up payments if they wish. The Treasury has confirmed that participants cannot start an apprenticeship while on the Kickstart Scheme.
- Extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) — For the self-employed, the SEISS will be extended for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. A first grant for November to January will cover 80% of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 (increased from 55%, capped at £5,160, following the government announcement on 5 November). The government will set a second grant for February to April at a later date. Claimants must declare that they (i) are currently trading, (ii) intend to continue to trade, and (iii) are impacted by reduced demand due to COVID-19 between 1 November 2020 and the date of claim.
- Other measures introduced to help jobseekers include an additional £32 million of funding for the National Careers Service, £101 million to enable 18- and 19-year-olds in England to study targeted Level 2 and Level 3 courses, expanding support from the Department for Work and Pensions for 18-to-24-year-old jobseekers, £95 million for the Work and Health Programme, £895 million to double the number of work coaches in Jobcentre Plus, £40 million to create a private-sector job-finding support service, an extra £150 million for the Flexible Support Fund, and an additional £17 million to triple the number of sector-based work academy placements.
Sidley Austin LLPはクライアントおよびその他関係者へのサービスの一環として本情報を教育上の目的に限定して提供します。本情報をリーガルアドバイスとして解釈または依拠したり、弁護士・顧客間の関係を結ぶために使用することはできません。
弁護士広告 - ニューヨーク州弁護士会規則の遵守のための当法律事務所の本店所在地は、Sidley Austin LLP ニューヨーク：787 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019 (+212 839 5300)、シカゴ：One South Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60603、(+312 853 7000)、ワシントン：1501 K Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005 (+202 736 8000)です。