In a surprise announcement earlier today, the UK government has advised that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain at the current level of 80% until the end of April 2021.
Having previously extended the scheme to 31 March 2021, the government was due to undertake a review in January. One can only assume that this further extension is in anticipation of the third spike in the New Year that is being mooted following the relaxation of the COVID rules over the Christmas period.
The period for making claims for December is now open and these must be made by 14 January 2021.
To help you plan ahead to meet the monthly deadlines, here is a list of the key dates:
• 14 January 2021 – final date to submit claims for December 2020
• 15 February 2021 – final date to submit claims for January 2021
• 15 March 2021 – final date to submit claims for February 2021
• 14 April 2021 – final date to submit claims for March 2021
• 14 May 2021 – final date to submit claims for April 2021
Picking up on a couple of questions that I have been asked I am sharing these, with my responses, below:
Can I use CJRS grants to pay for holiday leave?
If you have furloughed employees because of the effect of coronavirus on your business, you can claim under the CJRS for periods of paid annual leave they take while on furlough, including for bank holidays such as Christmas Day or Boxing Day.
If your employee is flexibly furloughed, you can count any time taken as annual leave as furloughed hours rather than working hours.
However, it must be stressed that, for periods of annual leave, employees are entitled to receive their normal full pay, although you can claim 80% of their usual wages for these hours. However, you should not place employees on furlough just because they are going to be on paid leave.
Can I include a Christmas bonus in my calculation for the grant?
You can claim for regular payments that you are contractually obliged to pay your employees, including compulsory commission, fees and overtime. However, you cannot claim for discretionary commission, non-contractual bonuses (including tips) and non-cash payments.
As always, please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions.