Employer guidance for Furloughing Staff and the Job Retention Scheme

Grant Saunders profile image

Grant Saunders, Partner, Head of Payroll

Grant is the Head of Payroll responsible for our fully managed payroll support service and has 18 years’ experience within industry.

April 18, 2020

IR35 Postponed

Furloughing Staff

How can we help?

We will be able to provide you with a tailored Average Earnings report from our payroll software. This will provide you with the average ‘regular’ pay for staff for the 2019-2020 tax year and the previous year's pay period to compare the data to. This will aid you in advising the payroll team as to what ongoing payments you wish to pay any furloughed employees.

Your usual dedicated payroll contact will liaise with you to establish the parameters of what is included in your staff’s ‘regular’ pay. This will then allow us to produce the bespoke report for you.

Unfortunately, we are unable to calculate and advise this rate of pay for you as employee remuneration is a business decision and we would advise seeking advice from an Employment Law firm, as this will require contractual changes, even in the short-term.  We can provide a comprehensive list of employment law contacts in your area that can assist you if required.


What if I have not furloughed any staff yet?

ACAS have a comprehensive guide and resources on what to consider when you furlough your staff, including a template letter you can send to your employees. There is more guidance available here.

Your employees will still pay the taxes they normally pay out of their wages. This includes pension contributions (both employer contributions and automatic contributions from the employee), unless the employee has opted out or stopped saving into their pension.

Both the Apprenticeship Levy and Student Loans should continue to be paid as usual. Grants from the Job Retention Scheme do not cover these. You will need to inform the payroll department of the payments you wish to process each period and send your payroll data across in your usual method.


Job Retention Scheme

How can we help?

We are offering two levels of service for clients to aid their JRS claims. These are as follows:

Pro Service

The 'Pro' service will be an 'all-in' package for clients that require us to calculate the claim and process the application through the HMRC portal.

Our service will include:

  • Calculation of JRS reclaims which will be sent to you for approval and sign off.
  • Administration of the reclaim process through the HMRC portal (due to be released on Monday 20th April).

Intermediate Service

The 'Intermediate' level service will be suitable for our clients who require assistance with their JRS claims but who wish to administer the claim process themselves.

This service will include the production of a bespoke report that will provide you with the data you need to calculate the claim figure.


If you are completing the claim yourself...

Ahead of starting this process, HMRC have published a useful step by Step guide for employers.

First of all, you will need to check the HMRC guidance to determine if you are eligible to claim employees’ wages through the Coronavirus. Further details can be found here

As of 17 April, HMRC have published clear guidance on how to work out 80% of your employee’s wages to claim through the JRS and even have a calculator available. The latest guidance can be found here.

The online service you’ll use to make the JRS claim will be available on 20 April 2020. You cannot make a claim prior to this.

If you have furloughed over 100 employees in one claim period, you will be able to upload a file to the JRS online portal, if less than 100 then this will be a manual inputting task as we understand it.

In addition to official HMRC guidance, there is a wealth of resources on the ACAS website including recorded and live webinars for employers, and they also operating a Q&A on Twitter every Friday at 10.30am.

For updates on current business issues and other ways we can help you and your business during this time please see the insights on our website.


We are here to help

Our Payroll and  Employment Tax teams are here to assist. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the impact of Coronavirus on your business, please get in touch with your usual Wilkins Kennedy contact or your nearest Wilkins Kennedy office


Related insights and events

Newsletter Sign-up