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Last-minute extension and new guidance for furlough scheme

17 April: A month-long extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and last minute help and support has been announced by the government less than 72 hours before launch.

It was announced this afternoon that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be now be extended until the end of June 2020.

The scheme, which allows firms to furlough employees while receiving cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500, was originally open for three months and backdated from 1 March 2020 to the end of May. Following the extension to the period of social distancing, this additional month brings welcome certainty to those businesses and employees affected.

Applications for CJRS grants may be submitted from 8:00am on Monday 20 April 2020. Employers have already been emailed by HMRC with detailed instructions and lists of what will be needed. 

There are still questions to which we don't yet have answers and we have listed the most frequently asked at Top ten things we don't know, with our suggested approach to dealing with them. We hope these will save some time as our members navigate their own claims and those of clients from Monday onwards.

A new guide, together with a calculator has now been added to HMRC's guidance for employers to help calculate their grant claims. This also includes the calculation for the grant for employers' NIC and pension contributions.

In a welcome change granting faster access, HMRC has made it easier for employers to sign up to payroll services online so they can claim for the JRS grant directly if they want to. No more waiting for a pin in the post. Other employers may prefer to continue using their payroll agent as usual. 

HMRC has also updated its guidance for employers and employees. There is new information added on scheme extension, fraud, claims for employees you made redundant or who stopped working for you, fixed term contracts, agency workers and retaining records. Also, a new guide has been published with information on holiday pay, employees returning from family-related statutory leave and sick pay, how to treat grant payments in Real Time Information and how to claim. 

HMRC guidance:  

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