21st April 2020

Following last minute changes to the guidance on Friday 17 April, and issuing a step by step guide to making a claim, the online portal for the CJRS is now operational and ready for employers to make claims for a cash grant for furloughed employees.

An updated full version of the guidance on the scheme (including all updates announced on 17 April) can be downloaded here:

Click here to download our updated full guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (PDF 252kb)

We have also created a useful guide that provides illustrative examples of how to calculate the grant for gross pay, employer NICs and employer pension contributions for the claim period.

Click here to download our illustrative guide of how to calculate a grant claim under the CJRS (PDF 953kb)


HMRC’s latest guidance (Updated 17 April) now includes the following:

How to categorise employees and calculating reference pay

For full and part time ‘fixed rate employees’ (as defined by the Treasury rules), the grant will be based on their actual salary, before tax, for the latest pay period that ended on or before 19 March. However, employers who furloughed workers on the basis of HMRC’s earlier guidance can use actual pay for the latest period ended on or before 28 February as the reference salary for their first claim.

For other employees (i.e. those with variable pay), their reference pay is the higher of the:

  • Average monthly pay for the 2019/20 tax year; and
  • Pay from the same month in the prior year.

The reference pay includes non-discretionary cash payments such as:

  • wages,
  • overtime,
  • fees and
  • compulsory commission.

Discretionary payments – such as bonuses and tips – and the cost of benefits in kind are excluded.

For these purposes, the Treasury rules definition of ‘fixed rate employee’ is similar to the definition of ‘salaried worker’ for National Minimum Wage (NMW) purposes.

Holiday pay

The latest guidance confirms that workers continue to accrue, and may take, holiday leave whilst furloughed. Holiday whilst furloughed must be paid at the employee’s full rate, but the employer’s claim remains subject to the usual JRS limit. HMRC has confirmed that they will keep this policy under review.

Frequency of claims

The latest guidance states that employers cannot make more than one claim during a claim period and cannot make any changes to submitted claims.

Submission of claims

The main steps for an employer to take prior to making a claim are as follows:

  1. Identifying all workers who are eligible;
  2. Ensuring all furloughed employees have a written agreement in place;
  3. Identifying all fixed rate employees;
  4. Identify reference pay; and
  5. Consider whether any top-up payments are required prior to the first claim

If you have any immediate questions about any of the information contained in this email, please do not hesitate to get in touch:

Lee Muter
Employment Taxes Partner

E: leemuter@unw.co.uk
T: 078 1085 2362

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