Follow these steps to ensure you're ready to claim your furlough grant through the HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal.

What to do now: Claiming your furlough grant

If you are not already registered for ePAYE, you should do so immediately by going to Register for online HMRC services and making your registration application.

The CJRS application portal is now live.  Employers can submit grant claims for furloughed workers here. The information needed to claim is the same information which would be used in your normal payroll run, and you should make your claim either shortly before, or during a payroll run.

Employers will be able to claim for the following payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

  • Overtime
  • Mileage Rate
  • London Rate
  • Responsibility money
  • Productivity/Incentive Schemes
  • Site specific payments
  • Shift premia
  • Call out
  • Travelling time for those in receipt of lodging allowance

Employers will not be able to claim for:

  • Benefits Credit
  • Mileage Allowance
  • Lodging Allowance
  • Periodic return fares

Payments in respect of successful claims will be made 6 working days after claim submission. The scheme is open, and the government has extended it in its current form until the end of July 2020. From August 2020 until the end of October 2020 it will continue, although the terms of the scheme may change.

As an employer, you can make this claim yourself, or if you have an agent with authorisation to act on your behalf in PAYE matters online, they may submit your claim.  If an agent is making the claim, the grant funds should still be paid into the employer’s account.

In order to access the system, you or your agent must have:

  • A Government Gateway ID number and password
  • An active PAYE scheme

To make a claim for this grant, you will need to know:

  • your employer PAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being furloughed
  • National Insurance Numbers for the furloughed employees
  • Names of the furloughed employees
  • Payroll/employee number for the furloughed employees (optional)
  • your Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code
  • your contact name
  • your phone number

Please ensure that you have all of this information ready before you begin your application, as HMRC’s portal will time users out after 30 minutes of inactivity and it is not possible to save your progress.

You will need to work out the following three separate elements for the claim period.

  1. The total amount being paid to furloughed workers. You can claim for 80% of your workers’ wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month each
  2. The total employer National Insurance Contributions
  3. The total employer pension contributions (up to 3%)

Employers will need to calculate the amount they are claiming and should keep a record of how they calculated this value, ideally on a spreadsheet. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of an employer’s claim.

Workers must receive no less than 80% of their referenced pay, and no fees should be deducted, nor should any negotiated lower amount be paid.

For more information and examples on how these values are calculated, please see the Government’s guidance here.

HMRC have also provided YouTube webinars to give further advice about using the CJRS which can be accessed here.

Please note that employers furloughing more than 100 workers must provide the following further details in their submission:

  • Claim amount per furloughed worker
  • Claim period for each furloughed worker

Employers who intend to make a CJRS grant claim in respect of more than 100 workers will need to submit the claim details in one of the following file formats:

  • .xls
  • .xlsx
  • .csv
  • .ods

You can search for information on how to convert between different file types using Google or YouTube.

HMRC have provided a claim calculator to allow employers to check their claims.  You can access it here.

The government has issued guidance to employers around how to make Real Time Information submissions depending on whether you have:

  • continued to pay your workers at 80% or 100% throughout their furlough period and before the grant payment arrived
  • by express agreement with your workers, paid 20% of your intended 100% payments throughout the furlough period and before the grant payment arrived
  • by express written agreement with your workers, not paid any wages throughout the furlough period until the grant payment arrived

Please see the official guidance given here to clarify how to report the payments you have made in the correct way.

Once you have submitted your claim you will see a confirmation screen where a claim reference number will be shown.  Print this screen or note down the claim reference number – you will not receive an email confirmation.

HMRC will check each employer’s claim, and if it is eligible, pay it to the employer by BACS to a UK bank account.

Always keep in mind that it is for you, or your agent, to check the accuracy of your claim.

HMRC have indicated that they hope the first furlough grant payments will be paid by 30 April 2020.

To check if workers are eligible, please refer to this flowchart: