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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic the government put in place a set of measures to help employed people affected by Covid-19.

The help came to an end on 30 September 2021 but the details below remain for reference purposes.

How did the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) work?

Grants were available to employers to cover up to 80% of the salary of retained, or 'furloughed', workers. At any time an employer was also able to decide to top up someone's income above the allocated percentage available from the government scheme.

The percentage payment from the government to employers varied slightly between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2021, when the scheme ended, but the employee always received 80% of their salary, up to a total of £2,500 a month.

The percentage payments from the government were:

  • During August and September 2021 it was 60% of someone's salary (with the employer expected to contribute the extra 20%).
  • During July 2021 it was 70% of someone's salary (with the employer expected to contribute the extra 10%).
  • Between 1 November 2020 and 30 June 2021 it was 80% of someone's salary (with the employer expected to contribute the National Insurance and pension contributions).
  • Between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 the percentage payment from the government was 80% of someone's salary, plus the employer's National Insurance contributions and pension contributions for each employee.
  • During August 2020 it was 80% of someone's salary (with the employer expected to contribute the National Insurance and pension contributions).
  • During September 2020 it was 70% of someone's salary (with the employer expected to contribute 10%).
  • During October 2020 it was 60% of someone's salary (with the employer expected to contribute 20%).

Salaries included overtime and regular commission but not bonuses, and, until the end of June 2020 people weren't able to carry on working for their employer at the same time as being part of the scheme (although they were able to work for another company if their contract allows it).

From 1 July 2020 an employee could return to work part-time and be furloughed part-time. If this occured the employer needed to cover the relevant salary costs for time worked by each employee each week, with the remaining time being covered by the CJRS.

To be eligible for the payment from November 2020 onwards, the employer needed to send HMRC a payroll notification for the employee by 30 October 2020.

Eligible groups include people paid through PAYE via a recruitment agency, someone on a zero-hour contract, people off work due to childcare responsibilities, apprentices, nannies who are PAYE employees, people on fixed-term contracts (which, if not yet can be extended during a furlough period), employees of companies that have gone into administration, company directors, agency workers, salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships and Limb (b) Workers paid through PAYE.

Did the grant affect other income, including benefits?

Any money received via the CJRS counted as income for benefits someone may also have been entitled to.

People receiving the payment were treated as still working their usual hours for any conditions in their benefits. If they worked enough hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit, they were still treated as working that number of hours and were still able to get Working Tax Credit. If they previously worked 16 hours or more, they were still treated as working that number of hours and were not eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance.

Further information

More details are available on the gov.uk website at Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

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