The Job Retention Scheme has been extended once again and a client wants to know if they might be affected by anything associated with this news – is there anything important that they should be aware of?
The Job Retention Scheme (JRS) was put in place by the Government to help employers retain staff even if they were unable to provide them with work due to the impact of coronavirus. As announced in the Chancellor’s 2021 Spring Budget, the JRS will no longer end on 30 April 2021 as it has been extended to the end of September 2021.
With this news came some other important changes to the structure of the scheme that your client, and all employers, should be aware of.
Until June 2021, the Government’s grant is worth 80% of employees’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month for their unworked hours. Where an employee is on full furlough, this is what they will get per month (unless your client decides to top it up). Where an employee is on flexible furlough, they will be paid in full by your client for the hours they work and the grant will cover 80% of pay for the unworked hours only, subject to a cap. The cap will always be less than £2,500 because that is the amount which applies to full-time furlough which is not the case with flexible furlough.
From 1 July 2021, the grant will reduce to 70% of furloughed employees’ wage costs for unworked hours. Pay for furloughed employees must remain at a minimum of 80% which means that your client must contribute 10% from their own pocket.
Further, from 1 August 2021 until the closure of the JRS, the Government grant will reduce to 60% of furloughed employees’ wage costs for unworked hours. Employer contributions will therefore increase to 20%. This contribution from your client will be in addition to the national insurance and pension contributions that they have been liable to pay for some months now.
Who can be furloughed?
From 1 May 2021 onwards, your client will be able to furlough someone for the first time who was employed on 2 March 2021 if they have made a PAYE Real Time Information submission for them to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.
Your client will now have much more flexibility in furlough decisions in the future; they will be able to furlough those who were recruited between 31 October 2020 and 2 March 2021 who had also been notified to HMRC via a RTI submission between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.
It must be noted that this change only becomes effective from 1 May 2021 onwards; until then your client can only furlough those who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission as made to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.
As part of the Spring Budget, the cut-off date for re-employing employees who were previously made redundant in order to furlough them has changed. Prior to this change, your client could bring back, and furlough, employees who had been made redundant provided they were on the payroll on 23 September 2020 and made redundant after that. Now, these employees can be brought back and furloughed until the end of April 2021.