Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal update

8 April 2020

HMRC say they expect to open the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) portal on 20 April, which is slightly ahead of their anticipated launch date of the end of this month.  This information will be made public shortly, when HMRC plan to contact businesses to advise them of the action to be taken.

We have been keeping you updated on the scheme since it was first announced by the Chancellor on 20 March, when he said measures would be put in place to allow employers to claim 80% of the normal wages of furloughed employees, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee.

It seems that HMRC have been asked by Rishi Sunak to put the scheme in place urgently, and this may explain why recent guidance and subsequent updates have raised a number of questions in more complex situations, such as variable pay.

The online service will be ‘self-serve’ with guidance in place, as HMRC do not expect to have capacity to deal with demand and will not be able to answer phone calls on this matter.  Certain businesses may need help in navigating the system.

Agents that are authorised to act on behalf of clients for PAYE matters will be able to claim on behalf of the employer.   But file only agents, including Payroll Bureaus, will not be able access the service due to data protection reasons, although they will be able to help with providing employers with the information required to make a claim.

Information that will be needed for each furloughed employee is as follows:

  • National Insurance number.
  • Salary, National Insurance and pension contribution information that allows business to calculate the claim amount.

We have provided a full summary of the latest clarifications in our Covid-19 blog and also provide an updated CJRS FAQs page, featuring answers to some of the key questions

As previously explained, it is very important that you take legal advice, to ensure the appropriate changes are made to employment contracts, if you are considering furloughing staff, and also to take tax advice to fully understand your obligations and the implications of furlough.

If you would like more information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the latest updates, you can read more in our CJRS FAQs section or, alternatively, please speak to your usual UHY adviser or contact me directly.