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The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended in full until 30 June 2021 and will then be phased out over the following 3 months.  The Government currently intends for it to close on 30 September 2021.  Here's what you need to know.

Updated 22 June 2021



The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has helped employers retain staff during the pandemic via a Government grant which covers a percentage of the wages for employees not working (and up to a capped limit).

The Scheme has run in its current guise since 1 November 2020. This version generally operated as its predecessor with businesses paid upfront to cover wages costs. The level of the grant reverted to the amount available under the Scheme in August 2020.

This means the Government currently pays 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. Employers pay employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions only for the hours the employee does not work.  


Under the current Scheme's arrangements:

  • Both flexible and full-time furloughing are allowed. Employees can be on any type of contract and employers are able to agree any working arrangements with employees. Employers can choose to top up employee wages above the Scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.
  • Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. 
  • When claiming the Job Retention Scheme grant for furloughed hours, employers have to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days. They also need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period. For worked hours, employees are paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers are responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
  • Agents, like accountants and tax advisers, are permitted to process claims on a client's behalf.
  • There is no requirement for employers to have previously furloughed employees they want to include in the Scheme.


The planned winding down of the Scheme

In the Chancellor's Budget on 3 March 2021, it was announced that up to the end of June, the current 80% government payment level will be maintained (capped at £2,500 a month), with employers responsible for NICs and pension payments.

The government payment will then drop to 70% in July 2021 (up to a cap of £2,187.50) and 60% in August and September for employees’ usual wages up to a cap of £1,875.  The Scheme is due to close on 30 September.

Employers will need to continue to pay their furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work during this time, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This means, for periods between July and September, employers will need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grants themselves. Employers can also top up wages above the 80% if they wish, but they are not required to do so.

Employers must also continue to pay the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions on subsidised furlough pay from their own funds.


Current Eligibility

The Job Retention Scheme remains open to all employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the Scheme.

The Scheme is open to:

  • businesses
  • charities
  • recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)
  • public authorities

Where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator will be able to access the Job Retention Scheme. 

The Scheme is applicable to company directors.  They too can be furloughed and still continue to perform their obligations as a statutory director (provided they don’t provide any executive services to their employer).  Salaried individuals who are directors of their own personal service company (PSC) can also benefit from the Scheme. This is expected to help freelancers, contractors etc who have a limited company. See more information here.

The Government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the Scheme, as has already been the case, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted.


Eligibility from 1 May 2021

For periods from 1‌‌ ‌May 2021 onwards, employers will be able to claim for eligible employees who were on employers’ PAYE payrolls on 2 March 2021. This means they must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying HMRC of the earnings for that employee.


How and when to claim

Employers will need their Government Gateway user ID and password they received when they registered for PAYE online. If you do not finish your claim in one session, you can save a draft. You must, however, complete your claim within seven days of starting it.

All claims for periods from 1 July 2020 to 31 October 2020 had to be submitted by 30 November 2020.

Claims from 1 November 2020 have to be submitted by 11.59pm 14 calendar days after the month you’re claiming for. If this time falls on the weekend then claims should be submitted on the next working day.  See this timetable published by the Government:

Claim for furlough days in Claim must have been submitted by:
November 2020 14 December 2020
December 2020 14 January 2021
January 2021 15 February 2021
February 2021 15 March 2021
March 2021 14 April 2021
April 2021 14 May 2021
May 2021 14 June 2021
June 2021 14 July 2021
July 2021 16 August 2021
August 2021 14 September 2021
September 2021 14 October 2021

For the latest informtion on the Scheme see here . 

For information on how to claim, see here


Can we help?

Our specialist team have been helping employers successfully apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant.  For help and guidance, please do get in touch with your usual Shipleys’ contact one of the team shown on this page.


Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, in relation to this summary. If you would like advice or further information, please speak to your usual Shipleys contact.

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