HR Update Covid19 - HMRC Claims Portal Launched for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

20 Apr 2020 Alex Hastings    Last updated: 22 Apr 2020

The Government launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) portal on 20 April 2020 and expects that payments will be made within six working days. 

What is the CJRS?

The CJRS is a temporary scheme put in place by the Government for four months starting from 1 March 2020, but it may be extended if necessary. The scheme is for furloughed workers placed on a temporary leave of absence from work for at least three weeks. These workers would have otherwise been laid off or made redundant. 

What can be claimed for?

The claim is made online and is accessed through the Government Gateway. Your payroll agent may be able to make the claim for you. Employers can furlough employees and apply through the portal for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay. 

Check if you can claim and how to calculate the claim

  • Guidance is available to check if you can claim under the scheme. Read the HMRC Guide to find out more. 
  • A new guide has been published with information on holiday pay, employees returning from family-related statutory leave and sick pay, how to treat grant payments in Real Time Information, plus additional information on how to calculate the claim for 80% of your employees' wages, how much you can claim for National Insurance and pension contributions and how to claim. For more information on this, read the full Calculation Guidance.

HMRC will check claims made through the scheme. Payments may be withheld or need to be repaid in full to HMRC if the claim is based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent. HMRC has put in place an online portal for employees and the public to report suspected fraud in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

Key points to note about the online claims process

  • Applications need to be completed in one session and will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity. 
  • there will be no e-mail confirmation so take a screenshot/print the confirmation 
  • make sure you retain calculation information in case HMRC needs to review it in future. 

Making the claim

Access the link via guidance on How to Claim. To access the system on GOV.UK you or your agent will need to have a Government Gateway ID and password and an active PAYE enrolment. If you do not have these, you can register for them at HMRC services: register and PAYE Online for employers

Remember, you should confirm furlough status in writing to you employees. For guidance on this, see NICVA's article and LRA (Labour Relations Agency) letter template for this here. This written confirmation should be kept for five years. 

To claim, you will need: 

  • your employer PAYE reference number 
  • your bank account number and sort code 
  • the number of employees being furloughed 
  • National Insurance Numbers for the employees you want to furlough 
  • Names of the furloughed employees 
  • ​​Payroll/employee number for the furloughed employees 
  • the start and end date of the claim 
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks) 
  • your contact name 
  • your phone number 

You also need to provide either: 

  • your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference 
  • your Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference
  • your Company Registration number  

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim. ​You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims, including records of the amount claimed for each furloughed employee and the period for which each employee is furloughed and a claim made under the scheme.

If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff you will be asked to enter details of each employee you are claiming for directly into the system – this will include their name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, and payroll/employee number (optional). 

If you have 100 or more furloughed staff you will be asked to upload a file with the information rather than input it directly into the system.

HMRC step by step guidance and useful webinar

Follow the HMRC step by step guide for additional help: HMRC Step by step guide  HMRC are also running live webinars where you can avail of a Question and Answer service which you can register for here

If you have a payroll query relating to furlough

If you have a payroll query relating to furlough of staff you can contact NICVA's Finance Manager, Eamonn McKee by email: [email protected] who will assist you. 

alex.hastings@nicva.org's picture
by Alex Hastings

Human Resources Manager

[email protected]

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