The information on this page was last updated on April 22nd 2020.

Employees you can claim the grant for

HMRC have announced that their online calculator for the furlough grant claims will be updated on 22 April to include variable pay. Currently the calculator can only be used for static pay.

HMRC are making payments directly to the nominated company bank account 6 days after the claim is made. If a payment is not received by then, HMRC have requested that employers do not contact them about a claim payment until 10 days after the claim has been made.

For a payment to be received before the end of the month (April), employers will need to apply today (Wednesday 22‌‌ April).

Once a claim has been made for a specific claim period, it cannot be altered or changed. Only one claim per claim period can be made, so if an employer has monthly and weekly payrolls under one PAYE reference, the furlough grant claim made must include both payrolls.

For furlough periods which are ongoing for employees, when the portal asks for the employee’s furlough end date, that should be left blank as the furlough period is ongoing.

As of 15 April 2020, HMRC announced that employers can claim for furloughed employees that were on PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020. This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.  

These changes are not as simple as being able to claim for employees on payroll on or before 19 March 2020, it is important to understand how the RTI payroll system works. Employers must notify HMRC under RTI of any payment made to a worker on or before the payment day, and remit to HMRC by the 20th of the following month that PAYE tax/NIC deducted. As most employers with a monthly payroll run the payroll around 25th-31st of the month, no notification will have gone to HMRC for those starting in March until the end of March. For monthly paid employees, it is likely that employees starting employment from 1 March 2020 will not qualify for furlough. Employees engaged on or before 19 March who are paid weekly are more likely to qualify for furlough, as RTI returns will have been submitted to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020.

Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

Making a claim under the furlough grant

The online claim service will be launched on GOV.UK on 20‌‌ April 2020. Claims can only be made online and will be paid within 6 working days. HMRC have stated that any queries should be directed via webchat service or the employer’s usual advisors.

Employers can make the claims even if they usually use an agent.

Information you will need before you make a claim

To access the HMRC claim portal, employers need to have an active PAYE online enrolment, which means they must have a Government Gateway (GG) ID and password, and be enrolled for PAYE online. HMRC have said that a number of employers have not managed to access the portal because they do not hold these. If you don’t already have a Government Gateway account, you can apply here, or by going to GOV.UK and searching for ‘HMRC services: sign in or register’.

You will need the following information for each furloughed employee you will be claiming for:

  • Name
  • National Insurance number
  • Claim period and claim amount
  • PAYE/employee number (optional)
  • 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 retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims for 5 closed tax years. HMRC will be retrospectively carrying out compliance to checks to ensure that the grant claims are correct.

If you have any queries please contact Laura Parr in our Employment Tax Team or Chloe Hughes in our Payroll Bureau.