What is it?
Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month. The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and will be open before the end of April for at least 3 months.The employer can choose to fund the differences between the grant and an employee’s salary but does not have to.
Am I eligible?
Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE) and public authorities.
You must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and have a UK bank account.
Employees you can claim for: full-time employees, part-time employees, employees on agency contracts and employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020. The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired by their employer. Employees hired after 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed or claimed for in accordance with this scheme.
To be eligible for the scheme, when on furlough, an employee can not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation. This scheme is only for employees on agency contracts who are not working.
If an employee is working, but on reduced hours, or for reduced pay, they will not be eligible for this scheme.
You do not need to place all your employees on furlough. However, those employees who you do place on furlough cannot undertake work for you.
Employees on unpaid leave cannot be furloughed, unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February.
Employees on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay, but can be furloughed after this.
Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough.
If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually.
A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation.
What do I need to do to access it?
You will need to:
– Designate affected employees as furloughed workers (when staff members are required to take an unpaid leave of absence) 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. Workersshould not undertake work while they are ‘furloughed’.
– 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).
To claim, you will need:
– your ePAYE reference number
– the number of employees being furloughed
– the claim period (start and end date)
– amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)
– your bank account number and sort code
– your contact name
– your phone number
HMRC are currently working to set up a system for reimbursement as existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.
Who do I need to speak to?
HMRC. This scheme is currently expected to open by the end of April.
The government has announced further details of the scheme available here.