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 ended on 30 September 2021

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

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

What's new? 

On 2 December 2021

On 27 May 2021

COVID-19 measures included in Budget 2021.

On 5 February 2021

On 26 January 2021

On 5 January 2021

On 17 December 2020

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:


Who can be furloughed?

Can your employee work when furloughed?

Can employees be furloughed where their health has been affected by Coronavirus or other conditions?

Can employees who have stopped working or been made redundant be re-employed and subsequently furloughed? 

Owing to the short-notice extension of the CJRS in October 2020:

How long can furlough last?

What needs to be agreed to furlough employees? 

Employers must:

The employee does not have to provide a written response.

The terms of any agreement must:

Where consistent with employment law, any flexible furlough or furlough agreement made retrospectively that has effect from 1 November 2020 will be valid for the purposes of a CJRS claim as long as it is made according to the conditions above.

Only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim.

What employee rights do those on furlough have?

Furloughed employees still have the same rights at work, including:

Employers can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period, however, grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments. HMRC will continue to monitor businesses after the scheme has closed.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, employers cannot claim for any days on or after that date during which employees are serving a contractual or statutory notice period (this includes people serving notice of retirement or resignation).

How does holiday pay interact with furlough?

How does furlough work for employees returning from leave? 

Administration and how to claim 

Employers must: 

Amounts under-claimed 

Amounts over-claimed 


To calculate how much can be claimed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme it is necessary to work out:

Length of your claim period and claim rules

What you can include when calculating wages

The amount used when calculating 80% of employees’ wages for hours not worked is made up of the regular payments an employer is obliged to make, including:

Non-discretionary amounts include payments which the employer has a contractual obligation to pay and to which the employee has an enforceable right.

The following cannot be included when calculating wages:

The entirety of the grant received to cover an employee’s subsidised furlough pay must be paid to them in the form of money. 

Where benefits are provided to furloughed employees, including through a salary sacrifice scheme, these benefits should be in addition to the wages that must be paid under the CJRS.

Miscellaneous points: 

Reference date

It is necessary to establish each furloughed employee's reference date. This determines which calculation rules are used. 

The employee’s reference date is 19 March 2020 if either:

If the 19 March 2020 reference date does not apply, the employee’s reference date will be 30 October 2020 if either:

Where neither 19 March 2020 nor 30 October 2020 reference dates apply the employee is not eligible for periods starting before 1 May 2021.

If a payment of earnings was made to the employee which was reported on an RTI FPS between 31 October 2020 and 2 March 2021 (inclusive) they may be eligible for periods starting on or after 1 May 2021. Their reference date will be 2 March 2021.

Usual hours and furloughed hours

HMRC have included detailed step-by-step instructions on calculating usual hours and furloughed hours in their guidance at Steps to take before calculating your claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

It is important to follow the correct set of instructions for each employee based on their reference date: either 19 March 2020, 30 October 2020 or 2 March 2021.  

HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme calculator 

HMRC have provided a calculator to work out amounts that can be claimed. 

Maximum wage amount

Working out 80% of an employee’s usual wage

It is necessary to work out 80% of an employee’s usual wages to determine:

You will need to identify the number of furlough days in the period. A furlough day means every calendar day within a period where the employee was either:

The way you should work out 80% of your employee’s usual wages is different depending on the way they’re paid. You must check what you can include as wages first.

Choose the calculation you think best fits the way your employee is paid, this might not be the same way that you have worked out their usual hours. For example, if you pay your employee a fixed regular salary, use the calculation for fixed pay amounts. HMRC will not decline or seek repayment of any grant based solely on the particular choice of pay calculation, as long as a reasonable choice is made.

HMRC have included detailed step-by-step instructions on calculating 80% of an employee's usual wage in their guidance at Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

It is important to follow the correct set of instructions for each employee based on their reference date: either 19 March 2020, 30 October 2020 or 2 March 2021.  

Example calculations 

HMRC have provided a number of example calculations.  

What's new? 

On 4 February 2021: 

Letter to an employee for use from 1 November 2020

[Employer name if not on headed paper]

[Employer address]


Dear [Employee name]

[Due to the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic you have already been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We have identified you as a suitable employee to remain furloughed.] OR [Due to the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we have [identified you as a suitable employee to be furloughed/agreed with you that you will be furloughed*] under the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme]*.

You will continue to be paid [as normal/and will receive 80% of your normal pay [for hours not worked]/and will receive pay of £2,500 per month]***

Income Tax and National Insurance will be deducted from your pay as normal.

You will continue to be our employee during the furloughed period.

Your furlough period starts on [start date]. It will end on the earlier of:

We expect the period not to exceed XX months. This may be extended if government restrictions mean that it is not possible for you to return to work. 

[During your furlough period you will be required to work [insert number of hours]** per week/month]*. OR [The number of hours that you will be required to work during your furlough period will be agreed with you in writing at the start of each week/month]*

[As already discussed we agree that you may other undertake paid temporary work/and unpaid voluntary work during your furloughed period]*

We will contact you when you are required to return to work.

[Please sign the attached form to confirm your agreement to being a furloughed employee and return to [name of the appropriate person/address or email address] by [date]****.

Yours sincerely

Notes for completion - DELETE BEFORE SENDING

*Delete as appropriate.

** Insert the number of hours you require the employee to work per week or month. If this will change you should agree this with the employee and issue them with a new letter accordingly.

 ***Only use the £2,500 per month option where employee earnings are such that 80% of their normal gross pay is more than £2,500 per month and they are not flexibly furloughed. 

You will not need your employee’s agreement to the furlough if:

•         They will continue to receive their full pay.

•         Their contract allows you to reduce their pay if there is no work for them.

****It is recommended that you set a deadline for responses.


Employee response form

A form for a furloughed employee to return to the employer

I [Employee name and works/employee number (if they have one)] consent to being a furloughed employee until such time as I am asked to return to work.

I understand that I remain an employee of [insert name of employer] and must continue to adhere to the terms of my employment other than by prior agreement with my employer.








HMRC lists the following as areas where employers may make errors:

  1. Did you re-employ any staff you had previously let go?
  2. Did you use the calculator on
  3. Is the claim period entered the same as the period used for the calculation?
  4. Did you restrict your claim to 80% of employees’ usual pay?
  5. Did you top up above the 80% that you can claim? If so, have you claimed for the top-up amount?
  6. Do you have a mixture of weekly and monthly paid employees? If so, how have you accounted for this?
  7. How did you determine what each employee’s usual pay was? You should only calculate the usual pay based on pay figures up to 19 March.
  8. Have you taken account of a pay rise which only took effect after 19 March? You should only calculate the usual pay based on pay figures up to 19 March.
  9. If the claim period is for July or later, have you flexibly furloughed any employees? If so, how did you calculate their usual hours?
  10. Have you included any non-contractual bonuses?
  11. Was the grant distributed correctly and on time?
  12. Was an overclaim offset against a further claim?
  13. Were additional ineligible staff included in the claim?
  14. Have any adjustments to earlier years been made?
  15. Have you claimed NI contribution and also claimed Employer National Insurance Allowance?
  16. Is the claim for a Director only scheme? (if a director had not submitted a return by 19 March they were excluded).

If, after reviewing these areas, you need to disclose an overclaim search for 'Pay Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants back' on GOV.UK. 

Amounts can be disclosed and repaid if you are still making claims, if not a separate disclosure and repayment to HMRC is required.

You can return to a claim via the government gateway. Claims can only be deleted within 72 hours. The last date to claim was 14 October 2021 therefore the window for deleting claims is now closed.

Offsetting over and under claims

Employees not paid enough

When on furlough, and a CJRS grant claimed, employees should have been paid the lower of:

for unworked hours.

Where employees have not been paid enough, employers should either:

Wages must be topped-up within a ‘reasonable period’. This is usually no later than the relevant tax return filing deadline:

In exceptional circumstances, HMRC may decide on a longer or shorter period.

Tax return boxes (companies)

Coronavirus support payments should be included when calculating taxable profits in the usual way, in line with the relevant accounting standards.

There are additional CT600 reporting requirements for CJRS grants:

CJRS received

Payments received during the accounting period of the return need to be declared in box 471 of form CT600.

The figure included on the return should not include deductions for:

The figure should be adjusted to add back:

CJRS entitlement

The CJRS entitlement should be returned in box 472 of form CT600 as follows:

CJRS overpayments already assessed or voluntarily disclosed

Finally, a declaration in box 473 of CT600 is required for CJRS payments received in the accounting period which at the time of completing the return:

The following amounts should not be included here:

Requirement to amend some returns

The boxes described above were added to the CT600 on 6 April 2021.

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