Preparing to claim for the UK Job Retention Scheme (aka furloughed workers)
Update: 21 May
The HMRC's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") was announced on 20 March 2020 and opened for claims on 20 April. Originally due to end on 31 May, then 30 June, the scheme has now been extended for the second time. The Chancellor announced on 12 May that it would continue without change until the end of July 2020.
It will remain in place and available to all sectors through to the end of October 2020, but from August there will be greater flexibility. Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time. Employees will continue to receive at least 80% of their wages subject to the £2,500 per month cap, but employers will be asked to 'start sharing the cost' of the scheme.
Full details will be available by the end of May. For more essential reading and further HMRC guidance on furloughing employees and the new job retention scheme, see here.
More information on this can be found on GOV.UK.
How to claim furlough payments
- the online claim service launched on GOV.UK on 20 April 2020
- an employer can make the claim even if they usually use an agent
- claims will be paid within 6 working days; you should not contact HMRC unless it is absolutely necessary – any queries should be directed to an agent, representative or their webchat service
- HMRC cannot answer any queries from employees – they will need to raise these with their employer directly.
Information you will need before you make a furlough claim
Preparations such as creating a Government Gateway ID might be a point of frustration for some employers, so knowing what it is needed in advance will save time.
To make a claim you will need:
- a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password – if you don’t already have a GG account, you can apply for one online, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'HMRC services: sign in or register'
- be enrolled for PAYE online – if you aren’t registered yet, you can do so now, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for 'PAYE Online for employers'
- the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:
- National Insurance number.
- Claim period and claim amount.
- PAYE/employee number (optional).
- if the employer has fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
- if the employer has 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.
If you are acting as an agent on behalf of your clients
- agents authorised to act for you on PAYE matters can make the claim on your behalf using their ID and password
- you will need to know the UK bank account the employer wants the grant to be paid into, in order to ensure funds are paid as quickly as possible
- if as an agent you file an employer’s RTI return but you don’t act for on other matters then you won’t be authorised to make a claim on behalf of the employer (i.e. your client), so you might wish for the client to update your status, otherwise you will only be able to assist by helping collate the above information.
- All records and calculations in respect of claims should be retained.
Your payroll software will probably be preparing file uploads for the information that is held (and please note that any payroll software will only have data as good as the records held on it).
There are a number of options available in KeyPay that you could use to assist you with furloughing employees.
- If you wish to keep furloughed employees separate in the payroll you could set up a new location which can act as a separate department to allocate the employees to.
- You can set up a new pay category and call this, for example '80% furlough salary' and pay furlough employees under this pay category.
KeyPay's furloughing report
If you go with option 2, you're able to generate a report based on the pay category you've used for your furlough payments. KeyPay allows you to create a partially completed template report that can be used to claim via the online portal, reducing any manual efforts and making it super easy to claim for furloughed employees.
Keep up to speed on the latest legislation changes and managing COVID-19 related payroll processes in KeyPay via our COVID-19 Hub.