Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a number of new changes to the furlough scheme

The Job Retention Scheme

  • allowing staff to work part time from 1st July 2020. Individual firms will be given the power to chose their shift patterns - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

  • To enable this, employers will have to submit data on the normal amount of hours versus how many shifts they carried out.

  • The 80% payout will continue until 31st July 2020 , after which point firms will have to start paying national insurance and pension contributions from 1st August 2020.

  • The payout will then fall to 70% in September, followed by 60% in October, when firms will be asked to make up the difference to 80% - or £2,500.

  • While this is currently optional, the Government says employer contributions will become compulsory - even for those who are unable to restart their business.

  • Any working hours arrangement that you agree with your employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. You can choose to make claims for longer periods such as on monthly or two weekly cycles if you prefer. You will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and actual hours worked.

  • If your employees are unable to return to work, or you do not have work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.

Important dates

It’s important to note that the scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June. From this point onwards, you will only be able to furlough employees that you have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30‌‌ June.

This means that the final date that you can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10‌‌ June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30‌‌ June. Employers will have until 31‌‌ July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30‌‌ June.

Guidance and support

Further support for employers and agents on how to calculate claims with this extra flexibility will be available by 12‌‌ June, including webinars and detailed online guidance. For information about how to claim, go to GOV‌.‌‌UK and search 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'. Please do not call us for more information, everything you need to know about this scheme will be published online on GOV‌.‌‌UK.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Chancellor also announced plans to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for those people whose trade continues to be, or is newly, adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus). Eligible self-employed people will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant in August; this will be a taxable grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits for three months, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £6,570 in total.

The eligibility criteria for the second grant will be the same as for the first grant. People do not need to have claimed the first grant to claim the second grant: for example, their business may have been adversely affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus) more recently.

Claims for the first SEISS grant, which opened on 13‌‌ May 2020, must be made no later than 13‌‌ July. Eligible self-employed people must make a claim before that date to receive the first SEISS grant (a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months' worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total). So far, we’ve seen over 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion.

It's really important to note that as with the first SEISS grant, the eligible individual must make the claim themselves. If you attempt to make a claim on behalf of your client, this will trigger a fraud alert and will result in significant delays to payment. However, you can help to prepare your clients by ensuring they have the relevant information ready. The claims process is simple: we will calculate the amount of self-employment support individuals will receive, they don’t need to do this themselves.

More information about the second SEISS grant will be available on GOV.‌‌UK on 12‌‌th June 2020.

In the meantime, please help us reach those self-employed people who could benefit from a SEISS grant now, by encouraging anyone you think might be eligible for the first grant but hasn’t yet made a claim to do so before 13‌‌ July 2020.

Protect yourself from scams

Stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic and unthreatening. Search 'scams' on GOV‌.‌‌UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact. You can also forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.