How Employers Can Access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Following our confirmation yesterday about the Government’s announcement of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, details were limited. We now know how Employers can access the Scheme.

Furloughed Workers Status

We confirmed yesterday the Chancellor’s announcement of the creation of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, intended to allow UK Employers to apply for grants to cover 80% of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, but details of how the scheme would operate were still a work in progress.  

To access support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Employers will first need to designate employees as “furloughed workers”.  It’s important to note that currently, the status of “furloughed workers” has no legal definition and is merely a general description used to describe employees who would otherwise have been laid off or made redundant.

How the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Will Work 

For those Employers who may have already imposed temporary layoffs either having exercised an express Term in the contract of employment allowing them to do so, or by first seeking the consent of the affected employees, the process for re-designating laid off employees should be relatively straightforward but for Employers who have not yet laid off employees, the process will differ slightly.

Employment Law Services (ELS) can advise Employers on the appropriate steps they need to take and can provide support with drafting the necessary letters Employers will need to ensure they meet their legal obligations and re-designate employees correctly on a fixed fee basis.  Request a call back and we will contact you to discuss your specific requirements.

HMRC Portal

Once employees have been re-designated as “furloughed workers”, Employers will need to submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.  

Note:  At the time of writing this article HMRC have not yet set out the details of how this portal or the information required but this will undoubtedly follow in the coming days.  Keep checking our website and/or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for further updates.

Employers should note that to qualify for this scheme, employees who would otherwise have been laid off without pay or made redundant would need to be kept on the payroll and the employees should not undertake work for their Employer while they are furloughed.  

The government intends to run the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for at least 3 months from 1 March 2020 but will extend if necessary.

Full details of how the scheme will be managed and monitored have not yet been released but once we have more information we’ll update you so bookmark our site and keep checking for updates.

Other financial support available to UK Employers includes:

  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Support for Employers

If you are an employer affected by any of the issues being created by the outbreak of Coronavirus and require further assistance and support, call us now on 0800 612 4772 or Contact us via our website.