Thursday 16 April 2020
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update (from ASBCI member, Chadwick Lawrence)
We are now onto the fourth revision of the Government’s CJRS guidance, which contains limited new information about eligibility and the mechanism for claiming. Still no sign of the actual portal but we will keep you updated as and when we hear more.
More importantly, the Government’s Treasury Department has also issued a Direction to HMRC outlining instructions for making payments under the CJRS. This is likely to amount to definitive guidance for HMRC to work with going forwards and can be accessed here.
The changes/additions are highlighted in the attached updated FAQs and, in summary:
- Employees who started with the business after 28 February but on or before 19 March are now eligible to claim under the scheme, but only if an RTI submission was made to HMRC in respect of them prior to 19 March. In reality, an RTI submission is only likely to have been made before 19 March if the employee is weekly paid, or if the monthly pay date is early in the month, so this is likely to be of limited relevance to many employers;
- When calculating pay, the Direction to HMRC states anything which is not "regular salary or wages" should be disregarded, including any performance related bonus and any conditional payments (e.g. where a threshold must be met). It appears that only guaranteed commission (not linked to any performance, thresholds or objectives) will be payable under the scheme;
- The Direction suggests that the employer and employee need to have “agreed in writing (which may be by email) that the employee will cease all work”. This arguably goes further than the Government guidance which merely refers to employers “confirming the position in writing”;
- There is still no commentary at all on annual leave.
A video summarising these changes can be accessed here and the updated FAQs are attached.
For information, this morning, HMRC Chief Executive Jim Harra stated “most employers run their payroll on the last banking day of the month which would be 30 April and there is time to get your claims in in time and to get money before then”. Mr Harra added that the portal system would be accessible from Monday (20 April).