Coronavirus: are you ready to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

Operators of licensed trade businesses can take steps now to prepare for support scheme going live, writes chartered surveyor Peter Seymour

UNDER the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of the salary of those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2500 per month.

HMRC is currently working urgently to set up an online system for reimbursement, which it expects to be available by the end of April.

To access the scheme, employers will have to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify them of this change. It is our understanding that furloughed workers should not undertake any work.

Things are moving fast, but here are ten steps you should be thinking about to access this important support package:

Step one

Find out as much as you can about the scheme and get advice on any aspect that you are not certain of. Graham & Sibbald will be happy to help.

Step two

Communicate with all of your workforce, bringing in stakeholders such as trade unions to get buy-in.

Step three

Decide on which employees are most ‘at risk’ of being made redundant. Identify those employees that will remain in employment and those that you will furlough.

Step four

For those employees you decide to furlough, look at their pay over the 12 weeks up to the end of February (these are the current dates, they may change). This will establish the base pay that will qualify for the grant.

Step five

For those furloughed employees for whom the £2500 cap will apply, think about how you will ‘top up’ their pay outside of the grant. NB: You can choose to ‘top up’ salaries in this way, but it’s not compulsory.

Step six

Think about your options for paying those workers that you will not furlough.

Step seven

Prepare your application to HMRC and ensure you or your HR department are ready to implement all necessary changes to payroll.

Step eight

When the new HMRC portal is up and running register and log-on.

Step nine

Submit all required information to HMRC.

Step ten

Receive reimbursement via new system.

Peter Seymour is head of Hotel & Leisure at Graham & Sibbald, chartered surveyors and property consultants.