This article was last updated on 22nd June 2020
If you’re an employer and your business has been affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, you may well have taken advantage of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers.
The scheme was introduced in March to enable employers to retain employees who they may have otherwise been forced to lay off during the pandemic. The scheme currently allows employers to claim 80% of furloughed employees’ wages, employer’s National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions from the government, although its scope is set to change in the coming months.
According to HMRC’s data, over 1.1 million employers have used the scheme and over 8.7 million jobs have been furloughed to date. While the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, recently announced that the scheme will be extended to the end of October, it will close to “new entrants” from 30th June.
This means that from 30th June onwards, you will only be able to furlough employees who have already been furloughed for at least three full weeks prior to this date. As a result, the latest date from which you can furlough an employee for the first time is Wednesday 10th June. This is also the final date from which employers can join the furlough scheme for the first time.
You can still furlough an employee returning from statutory parental leave after 10th June 2020, provided that:
- you have previously submitted a claim for any other employee in your organisation in relation to a furlough period of at least three consecutive weeks between 1st March 2020 and 30th June
- the employee you wish to furlough for the first time started maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave before 10th June 2020 and returned from that leave after 10th June
- the employee was on your PAYE payroll on or before 19th March 2020
For claim periods starting on or after 1st July, there will also be a limit to the number of employees you can claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. You will not be able to claim for more than the maximum number of employees you claimed for in any single claim period up to 30th June. If your highest single claim until that date had been for 100 employees, for example, you would be unable to claim for more than 100 employees in claim periods from 1st July onwards.
HMRC provides comprehensive guidance on how the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme works on its website, along with further details of how the scheme is set to change. To learn what information you’ll need to have to hand before you make a claim through the scheme, take a look at our handy guide.
To learn more about what the coronavirus crisis could mean for your business and to stay up to date with the latest news, take a look at our small business coronavirus hub.