Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Is my business eligible?

Yes – this is available for businesses and charities of all sizes and sectors in the UK. 

How to access the scheme?

You will need to:

  • designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation. If you need help and advice in this area please let us know and our dedicated payroll and HR team can advise you
  • submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

The Government will cover up to 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This is so that the businesses can retain employees who would otherwise be made redundant due to Coronavirus related disruption – this will be backdated to 1st March 2020

HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement and details should be available soon. Existing systems are currently not set up to facilitate payments to employers but employers will be asked to submit information to a new HMRC portal (details tbc). 

Statutory Sick Pay Refund 

The Government will refund employers up to 14 days statutory sick pay per employee off sick or self-isolating from day 1. This is available for businesses and charities with under 250 employees. 

Employers will be able to access it Via HMRC (details tbc) and are aiming to launch the scheme in the near future. For the time being, all firms will have to keep careful records of sickness & self-isolation absence in order to have evidence available as soon as the scheme launches. 

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

The government are looking to bring forward legislation to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
Is your business eligible?

Businesses are eligible for the scheme if:

  • they are UK based
  • the business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
How can you access the scheme?

A rebate scheme is currently being developed by the government. Further announcements or details will be published once the legalisation has passed.

Clarification from the third version of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from HMRC:
  • Employers are free to switch employees from sick pay to furlough
  • Employers of newly TUPE’d employees can put them on furlough
  • Employers can furlough ‘shielding’ employees
  • Employers can claim through the scheme for enhanced maternity pay
  • Employers can furlough employees unable to work because of care responsibilities arising as a result of coronavirus

Our sister company Price Pearson are keeping fully up to date with all current government and local agency business support programmes and would be happy to speak to you if you require any assistance. To speak to a member of the team call your usual IceBlue support telephone number and we will put you in touch with them.

Last updated: 15 Apr 2020 9:05 AM