The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) claims portal opened on Monday 20 April and early indications are that it seems to be working smoothly but with a few teething problems as you would expect from a brand-new system.
In the run up to the start of the system there was limited detail from HMRC on what could be claimed as the initial guidance was rather sketchy and did not cover all situations. The government also decided late on to change the qualifying conditions so that it would apply to those on the payroll at 19 March instead of 28 February to cover those employees taken on in March, or so we thought. It turned out that the employee needed to be included in an RTI (real time information) submission for 2019/20 by 19 March to be included.
Remember that CJRS allows employers to claim 80% of an employee’s regular pay subject to a limit of £2,500 a month if they have been “furloughed”, in other words unable to work during the crisis.
The claim can also include employer’s NIC and the employers 3% auto-enrolled pension contribution on the restricted amount.
Note that company directors may be furloughed provided they do not work for the company other than complying with their statutory obligations. The furlough claim only applies to their salary, not dividends.
Depending on how long the Coronavirus lockdown lasts future claims should be a lot more straightforward now that we have more detailed guidance from HMRC.
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