Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: step by step guide for employers

Employers can now put in claims for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The UK Government’s system has been live since 20 April. The Scheme comes as part of the Government’s unprecedented furlough scheme that is keeping millions of people in jobs and it will now be extended for a further month, the Chancellor confirmed on Thursday 17 April. 

Claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions, if you have put them on furlough because of coronavirus (COVID-19). We have provided information below to prepare you for putting in a claim.

Scheme Updates

Since the emergence of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, there have been numerous updates that employers should take into consideration before putting in a claim.

From Tuesday 30 June:

  • The scheme will close to new entrants. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.
  • This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be Wednesday 10 June, in order for the current 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

From Wednesday 1 July:

  • Employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
More scheme updates here

Check if you can claim

Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can claim to cover wages for employees on furlough due to cornavirus.

To use the scheme:

  • An employer must agree with the employee that they are a ‘furloughed worker’ and cannot do any work for the employer.
  • Employees must be notified that they have been furloughed and for a minimum of three weeks.
  • You can claim 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per furloughed employee.
  • A separate claim is needed for each PAYE scheme.
  • You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
  • You must have a UK bank account.

You must read the guidance provided by the government and check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

You can read the full guidance here.

Who can claim

You can claim for any employees you have furloughed if you have:

  • furloughed that employee for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March and 30 June 2020
  • a UK PAYE scheme started on or before 19 March 2020
  • enrolled for PAYE online
  • submitted a report under the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting system for that employee on or before 19 March 2020
  • a UK bank account

For employees that meet the criteria above, the amount you claim for in any single claim period starting from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending by 30 June.

For example, an employer had previously submitted three claims between 1 March 2020 and 30 June, in which the total number employees furloughed in each respective claim was 30, 20 and 50 employees. Then the maximum number of employees that employer could furlough in any single claim starting on or after 1 July would be 50.

There are some exceptions explained in this guidance for employees returning from parental leave where this cap may not apply.

Using minimum furlough periods

Until 1 July 2020, any employees you place on furlough must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. When they return to work, they must be taken off furlough. Employees can be furloughed more than once, but they must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks each time they are furloughed.

From 1 July, agreed flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

Where a previously furloughed employee starts a new furlough period before 1 July this furlough period must be for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. This is the case regardless of whether the 3 consecutive week minimum period ends before or after 1 July.

For example, a previously furloughed employee can start a new furlough period on 22 June which would have to continue for at least 3 consecutive weeks ending on or after 12 July. After this the employee can then be flexibly furloughed for any period. However, after 1 July, employers cannot make claims that cross calendar months, so the employer will need to make a separate claim for the period up to 30 June.

Although flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time, unless otherwise specified the period that you claim for must be for a minimum claim period of 7 calendar days.

Step One: How to claim

  • the online claim service ca be access here and it was made live on Monday 20‌‌ April 2020
  • the only way to make a claim is online – the service should be simple to use and any support you need available on GOV.UK; this will include help with calculating the amount you can claim
  • you can make the claim yourself even if you usually use an agent
  • claims will be paid within 6 working days; you should not contact the Government unless it is absolutely necessary – any queries should be directed to your agent, representative or our webchat service
  • we cannot answer any queries from employees – they will need to raise these with you, as their employer, directly.

Step Two: Before you claim

To make a claim yourself, you must gather the following information before you can proceed:

  1. The number of employees being furloughed
  2. The dates employees have been furloughed to and from
  3. Details of employees – the name and National Insurance Number of each furloughed employee
  4. Your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  5. You Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference, Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number as appropriate for your entity
  6. Your UK bank account details
  7. Your organisation’s registered name
  8. Your organisation’s address
  • if you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff – you will need to input information directly into the system for each employee
  • if you have 100 or more furloughed staff – you will need to upload a file with information for each employee; we will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods.

You should make sure you have this information ready before you access the system to make a claim.

If you are applying through an agent:

If you have an agent that has authorisation to act for you on PAYE matters online, they can make a claim for CJRS on your behalf. If an agent is making the claim for you, tell them which bank account you want the funds to be paid into.

  • agents authorised to act for you on PAYE matters can make the claim on your behalf using their ID and password
  • you will need to tell your agent which UK bank account you want the grant to be paid into, in order to ensure funds are paid as quickly as possible to you.

You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims.

Step Three: Calculating a claim

For the majority of employers with full-time or part-time employees on a set salary, you will need to work out the following for the claim period:

  1. The total amount being paid to furloughed employees (up to 80% of £2,500 a month before tax per employee)
  2. The total employer NICs
  3. The total employer pension contributions (up to 3%)

You can find out how to calculate 80% of your employee’s wages, National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions if you’ve furloughed staff due to coronavirus (COVID-19) here.

Step Four: Making a claim

Do not start a claim until you have gathered all the information required in steps 2 and 3.

To access the system on GOV.UK you or your agent will need to have:

  • A Government Gateway ID and password
  • An active PAYE enrolment

If you do not have these, you can register for them at

The application needs to be done in one session. There is currently no save and return option. Sessions will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Start your claim here

For further information and guidance visit:

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