Updates to CJRS guidance: 4 February 2021

05 February 2021

Several of the guidance pages that relate to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) were updated on 4 February 2021. Payroll professionals who are submitting claims under the scheme should be aware of the changes.

The following pages have been updated to reflect the fact that there is no right of appeal for those that are not eligible for the CJRS:

Check if your employer can use the CJRS

Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the CJRS

Calculate how much you can claim using the CJRS

Claim for wages through the CJRS

The page that outlines the ‘Steps to take before calculating your claim using the CJRS’ has been updated to confirm further details of what you must not include when calculating wages to claim for, as follows:

  • You cannot include non-monetary benefits, such as Benefits in Kind (e.g. a company car), and this includes benefits received in exchange for forfeiting an amount of pay under a salary sacrifice scheme
  • You cannot include employer pension contributions, including pension contributions received in exchange for forfeiting an amount of pay under a salary sacrifice scheme. There is a note to confirm that pension contributions that an employee makes from their wages can still be included, and the example of those made through a Net Pay Arrangement pension scheme is provided

The guidance on how to ‘Calculate how much you can claim using the CJRS’ has been updated to include a new section entitled ‘What you can claim’.

It explains that for the period from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021, the Government grant will be available for 80% of wages. Employees must be paid at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours that they are furloughed, and are not working, as this is the amount that employers can claim through the scheme.

There is clarification that the calculation of the employee’s usual wages is based on the amount they were paid in a specific period, so in scenarios where their pay or working arrangements have recently changed, then the amount that the employer can claim, and the amount they must pay employees for the hours not worked, could potentially be based on the previous arrangements.

It is not mandatory for employers to contribute or top-up the employee’s pay for hours not worked, bur employers are still required to pay employer National Insurance (NI) contributions and employer pension contributions for hours employees are recorded as being on furlough, and employers cannot reclaim these amounts.

Employers can opt to top-up employee wages above the minimum 80% if they wish. There is a reminder that employees must not work or provide any services for the business during hours which they are classed as being on furlough, even if their wage is topped-up.

Where employees are flexibly furloughed, meaning that they are working reduced hours and not ceasing work completely, employers must pay them at their full current contracted rates for any hours that they work. The grant cannot be claimed in relation to hours that employees work.

The ‘Examples of how to calculate your employees’ wages’ page has been added to, and a new example provided for the calculation of wages for different types of pension scheme.


The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.