Job Retention Scheme update – Guidance to make a claim from Monday

HMRC last tonight published a step by step guide to help businesses make their claims under the Job Retention Scheme (“JRS”) aka furlough scheme.  HMRC confirmed that the claim portal will go live at 8am this Monday and the fact that claims can only be made online, no phone service.

HMRC have emphasised that the JRS application process will be self-serve, they do not have the capacity to support businesses.

A step by step calculation guide for salary, National Insurance and workplace pension is included with examples, is contained within the guidance. An online calculator will be available from 20 April 2020, to assist in calculating how much you can claim.

The guidance can be found HERE

HMRC have also updated their guide for employers to check on eligibility for the JRS, with new information added on the following:

  • Fraud;
  • claims for employees made redundant or who stopped working for you;
  • fixed term contracts;
  • agency workers; and
  • retaining records.

HMRC are emphasising fraud and their reporting hotline for employers who are abusing the scheme, which could include an employer claiming but not paying employees what they’re entitled to, asking employees to work while on furlough, or making a backdated claim that includes times when employees were working.  HMRC will check claims made through the scheme and they have a five-year window. Payments may be withheld or need to be repaid in full to HMRC if the claim is based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent.

The Chancellor also announced yesterday that the scheme will run until at least the end of June, in line with the extension of the lockdown period.

The updated guidance can be found HERE 

There is likely to be huge pressure on the JRS portal on Monday and Tuesday. There have been predictions that more than half of all companies in the UK will access the scheme. HMRC advise that the online application service can handle up to 450,000 applications an hour. Employers should then receive the money to pay their employees within six days, enabling them to meet the April payroll.

Those who have payroll agents looking after their PAYE reporting, they should be contacting you (or if not, you should contact them), regarding making claims. It should be noted that these organisations will be under pressure, as the scheme and the system is new to them as well.  They will also be dealing with working from home and possibly staff shortages.

The JRS is biggest part of the Government support package, as it is relevant to so many businesses and their employers.  The online portal has been built in a month and has been tested last week with a minimal number of employers, so it will be a case of being patience with the system, with the numbers who will be accessing and using it, everyone for the first time.

As ever, if you need any help our guidance, do contact the office

#Stay home, #Stay safe and have a good weekend

18 April 2020