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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (updated March 3rd 2021)

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (updated March 3rd 2021)

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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) (updated March 3rd 2021)

Businesses can claim for some of your employee’s wages if they have put them on furlough or flexible furlough because of Coronavirus.

In his Budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP announced an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to September 2021 across the UK. Currently employees place on leave receive 80% of their pay, up to a maximum £2,500 per month. Employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours their staff do not work in July, increasing to 20% in August and September, as the economy reopens

Businesses will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time and shift pattern, including furloughing them full-time. Employers will need to agree a furlough agreement with the employee. For the hours not worked, employers will only be asked to cover the National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim. For the hours worked, employers will need to cover employees’ contracted wages, National Insurance and employer pension contributions.

The Job Support Scheme and Job Retention Bonus have been postponed and CJRS has replaced them.

Am I eligible?

Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS (if other eligibility criteria below are met).


  • All employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE payroll scheme that was registered on or before 30 October can claim the grant. This includes businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.
  • The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.
  • The UK government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the scheme, as has already been the case for CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other eligibility requirements apply to these employers.


  • Furloughed employees must have been employed and on an employer’s PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30 October 2020.
  • As under the current CJRS rules, employees can be on any type of employment contract.
  • 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.
  • If employees were on payroll as of 23 September 2020 (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 23 September) and were made redundant or stopped working for their employer afterwards, they can also qualify for the scheme if their employer re-employs them.

Click here to find out which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Click here to check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Guidance has been updated with new calculation examples to cover the lookback period and examples to clarify eligibility for the annually paid. For examples to cover the lookback perio, click here, and for examples to clarify eligibility for the annually paid, click here.

Who do I need to speak to?

Businesses can access the online portal here. Calculate how much you have to pay your furloughed employees for hours on furlough, how much you can claim for employer NICs and pension contributions and how much you can claim back. Employers should have all their information and calculations ready before beginning their application. They should retain all records and calculations, in case HMRC need to contact them.

Agreeing To Furlough Employees

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have confirmed to their employee (or reached collective agreement with a trade union) in writing that they have been furloughed. You must:

  • make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
  • keep a written record of the agreement for five years
  • keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (such as, not working)

The employee does not have to provide a written response and you do not need to place all your employees on furlough.

You can:

  • fully furlough employees – they cannot undertake any work for you while furloughed full time
  • flexibly furlough employees – they can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern but they cannot do any work for you during hours that you record them as being on furlough

Flexible Furlough Agreements

If you flexibly furlough employees, you will need to agree this with the employee (Or reach collective agreement with a trade union) and keep a new written agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement.

There is no minimum furlough period, agreed flexible furlough agreement can last any amount of time although unless otherwise specified the period that you claim for must be a minimum claim period of 7 calendar days. Employees can enter flexible furlough agreements more than once.

Employee Rights

Employees still have the same rights at work, including:

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
  • Annual leave
  • Maternity and other parental rights
  • Rights against unfair dismissal
  • Redundancy payments

Grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments. HMRC will continue to monitor businesses after the scheme has closed.

Details of your claim that will be publicly available

If you claim for periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, HMRC will publish details of your claim on GOV.UK. They are doing this because:

  1. Meet their transparency commitments
  2. Deter fraudulent claims

This information if publish monthly, updating the previous months information with any amendments. You can:

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Written by:

Dylan O'Rourke MAAT

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