CJRS Extended: FAQ and Notice Pay Changes

Following the announcement of the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Program (CJRS) until March 31, 2021, HMRC has now issued guidance on the key points and how it works.

Below are some FAQs for employers, based on information currently available on the extended CJRS, including the recent update regarding the Notice Request.

Who is eligible?

For any claim period after November 1, 2020, all employers can claim for any employee who was on the payroll as of October 30, 2020. There is no maximum number of employees that an employer can claim from November 1, 2020 and employees do not need to have been on leave before that date.

Do you have to have used the furlough scheme before?

No. An employer does not need to have used the CJRS before to put employees on leave and apply for it now.

Does this extend to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland?

Yes, the extended CJRS applies to employers in the UK, although the lockdown currently only applies to England.

How much can be claimed?

Employers can currently claim 80% of an employee’s regular wages for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, also proportional to hours not worked. Employers can choose to “top up” an employee to 100% of their salary but are not required to do so.

However, the amount that can be claimed will be reviewed in January 2021 and may be reduced at that time.

What should employers contribute?

Until 31 January 2021, the CJRS will cover 80% of wages in full, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, for hours not worked by the employee. Employers will still have to pay employers’ national insurance contributions and employers’ pension contributions.

The scheme is expected to be reviewed in January 2021 to decide whether employers will be required to contribute hours not worked by employees.

What if an employee is currently working their notice period and/or needs to be made redundant?

The current position in November 2020 is that an employer can claim an employee on leave who is serving a statutory or contractual notice period.
However, as of December 2020, the leave plan will not be available to employees who received their notification on or after December 1, 2020. This also includes employees who serve notice for reasons other than termination.

As was the case previously, severance pay cannot be claimed under the CJRS.

What if an employer fired an employee before November 2020?

If an employee was on the payroll on September 23, 2020 and has since stopped working or has been laid off, they can be rehired and put on leave. A PAYE RT1 submission must have been made for this employee between March 20 and October 30, 2020.

There is no legal obligation for an employer to rehire these employees.

If you want to consider rehiring staff to put them on leave, this poses a number of issues, including what to do in the event of a layoff that has already been paid. We strongly suggest that you take legal advice in order to find the best way to approach any rehiring of staff in these circumstances.

Do I need a written agreement in place?

Yes. Employers must obtain employee consent to be placed on leave and confirm arrangements in writing. If you already have a leave agreement in place, you will need to check if the wording covers an extension of the plan or if you need another written agreement.

What is the minimum period of absence / complaint?

There is no minimum period during which an employee must be placed on leave. However, the claim period must start and end within the same calendar month and claims must cover a period of at least 7 days.

The only exception to the 7-day period is if you have already applied for the same employee in the immediately preceding period and if your application includes the first or last day of the calendar month.

Is “flexible leave” still an option?

Yes, flexible, full-time leave is available for employers and, as before, these arrangements must be agreed in writing with employees. An employee does not need to work a minimum number of hours or a particular work pattern, but the employer will be required to report to HMRC for a minimum period of seven consecutive days.

When should claims be submitted?

For claims in the period on or up to 31 October 2020, these must be made by 30 November 2020.

For claims under the CJRS in November 2020, these must be submitted by 14 December 2020.

Will furlough claims be made public?

From December 2020, HMRC will publish the names of companies who have made claims under the CJRS for the month of December onwards. Employers should therefore consider whether furloughing employees risks reputational damage.

We are here to help

For any other queries on the extended CJRS or for help with effecting furlough agreements or changes, please contact our Employment Team on +44(0) 808 109 2068 or via email at hello@

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