Updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – extension of eligibility from 1 May 2021

In addition to the announcements in the Chancellor’s budget on the extension of furlough to the end of September and the contribution which will be required from employers later in the summer (10% in July and 20% in August and September), the government also published updated guidance yesterday evening (3 March) on the furlough scheme.

The key changes seem to be as follows:

Eligible employees – extension to eligible employees (for claim periods from 1 May 2021)

Under the original extension rules, you can claim for employees who were employed by you as of 30 October 2020, as long as they were included in a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between the 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020 (this differs where an employee was made redundant or stopped working for the business after 23 September 2020 and was subsequently re-employed).

From 1 May (the new extended scheme) you can claim for employees who were employed on or before 2 March 2021, as long as they were included on an RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.

Remember, this extension to eligible employees only applies from 1 May and therefore they should not be put on furlough before then.

Eligible employers – extension to eligible employers (for claim periods from 1 May 2021)

For claim periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, an employer will be eligible if they created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 2 March 2021 (in addition to the eligibility requirements of having a UK, Isle of Man or Channel Island bank account and having enrolled for PAYE online).

Again, this change only applies to claims periods starting on or after 1 May 2021.

Calculation of claims

The updated guidance says that further guidance will be forthcoming regarding the calculation of claims for the period from 1 May onwards including the relevant ‘lookback’ periods for variable hours workers under the new extended scheme and how to calculate claims for those newly eligible under the scheme from 1 May.

We’ll update you as soon as this guidance is published.

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