What is CJRS? When does the CJRS apply? How to claim CJRS. How to calculate CJRS claim amounts.

This is a freeview 'At a glance' guide to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which applied from 1 November 2020 to 30 September 2021. 

At a glance

This guide covers the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) from 1 November 2020.

For details of the previous version of the scheme see: COVID-19: CJRS to 31 October 2020

The CJRS ended on 30 September 2021. 

  • The CJRS seeks to support employers who are unable to maintain their workforce because their operations have been affected by Coronavirus.
  • Employers may furlough employees and claim a CJRS grant in respect of hours not worked by furloughed employees.
  • For claim periods running between 1 November 2020 and 30 June 2021, employers could claim 80% of an employee's usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. 
  • From 1 July 2021, employers are required to contribute towards the cost of unworked hours. These contributions are:
    • 10% in July 2021 (up to £312.50).
      • The government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50.
    • 20% in August and September 2021 (up to £625).
      • The government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum cap of £1,875.
  • Employers can top up employee wages for hours not worked above the 80% covered by the grant (including mandatory employer top-up in July, August and September 2021) at their own expense.
  • Employers will pay the employee’s wages for the hours they work as normal, as well as employer National Insurance and employer pension contributions.
    • For hours not worked, employers will cover employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
    • Employees will pay Income Tax and National Insurance deductions on all amounts paid to them, as normal. 
  • Employers do not need to have used the CJRS previously.
  • Employers across the UK can claim, whether their businesses are open or closed, providing they have a UK PAYE scheme created before 2 March 2021 (for claims on or after 1 May 2021), a UK bank account and are enrolled for PAYE online.
  • Publicly funded organisations should not use the scheme. Partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted.
  • For claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, HMRC has published, from February 2021, employer names for those who have made claims under the scheme. This also includes an indication as to the value of the claim based on 14 banded ranges. 
  • Employers can request that HMRC does not publish details about their CJRS claim if they can show evidence that it would result in serious risk of violence or intimidation to:
    • Them or anyone living with them. 
    • An individual associated with their business or anyone living with them.
  • There is no right of appeal for those not eligible for the CJRS.

The CJRS ended on 30 September 2021

On cessation of the CJRS, employers must decide whether to: 

  • Bring furloughed employees back to work under their existing contracts. 
  • Agree changes to employment contracts with furloughed employees. 
  • Terminate the employment of furloughed employees. Normal redundancy rules will apply. 

In each case, employment, equality and discrimination laws must be considered. 

What's new? 

On 2 December 2021

  • HMRC published details of the action required where the full value of CJRS grants received was not passed on to employees. See Errors/Overclaims tab. 

On 27 May 2021

  • HMRC have published a new template to use when claiming CJRS.
    • The template must be used for all CJRS claims relating to 16 to 99 employees, made on or after 27 May 2021.
  • Using the template, it is now possible to submit CJRS claims in the absence of some staff National Insurance numbers, without having to call HMRC.
  • The template can be found here.

COVID-19 measures included in Budget 2021.

  • The CJRS is extended to 30 September 2021.
  • The scheme will continue in its current form until 30 June 2021.
    • Employees will receive 80% of their normal salary for hours not worked.
  • From 1 July 2021, employers will be asked to contribute towards the cost of unworked hours. These contributions will be:
    • 10% in July 2021 (up to £312.50).
    • 20% in August 2021 (up to £625).
    • 20% in September 2021 (up to £625).
  • Employees will still be paid 80% of their wages for hours not worked, to a cap of £2,500.
  • For periods from 1 May 2021, claims can be made for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021.
  • The scheme will cease on 30 September 2021.

On 5 February 2021

  • HMRC advised that the CJRS calculator on gov.uk contained an error that has since been corrected.
  • Employers who used the calculator before 21 January 2021 to work out January CJRS claims for employees not on a fixed salary will need to re-calculate claims if:
    • They used an employee’s pay for January 2019 as reference pay, instead of 2020, and
    • The employee’s pay was different in January 2019 to January 2020.
  • In cases where too much has been claimed, this can be amended on the next claim or HMRC advised as soon as possible with repayment made online.
  • Where too little has been claimed, amendments can be made up to 1 March 2021.

On 26 January 2021

  • HM Treasury published a Treasury Direction which covers the extension of the CJRS for the period 1 April 2021 to 30 April 2021.
  • The schedule to the Direction sets out the scheme applying for the period 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.
  • Under the Direction, for employees with variable pay, their reference period for March and April 2021 claims will be based on the higher of:
    • Average pay over 2019-20.
    • March 2019 (for March 2021 claims) or April 2019 (for April 2021 claims).

On 5 January 2021

  • HMRC have updated their guidance to clarify that individuals can be furloughed if caring responsibilities arising from Coronavirus mean they are unable to work (including from home) or are working reduced hours. 
  • This includes caring for: 
    • Children who are at home as a result of school or childcare facilities closing.
    • A vulnerable individual in their household.

On 17 December 2020

  • The chancellor announced that that CJRS will extend until 30 April 2020. This gives businesses certainty well ahead of the statutory 45 day redundancy notice period.

On 2 December 2020

HMRC have updated their guidance to say: 

"You can only place employees on furlough if Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting your operations. You should not place employees on furlough just because:

  • They are going to be on paid leave
  • You usually do less business over the festive period.

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