CJRS and Furlough Pay – Update at 16th April

job retention scheme, xero, coronavirus

We are learning everything we can about Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and furlough pay and how we can make the claims for you.  I ask that you please bear with us as we learn a new payroll system and this brand new CJRS claim system.  We are doing our very best as quickly as we can! We would like to remind you that we are charging NO extra for this new service.

Furlough Pay now live in Xero

The first exciting news is that furlough pay became live in Xero on 15th April.

Xero were given the same notice as all of us of the changes to payroll from 1st March and they have managed to build the new feature very quickly! Half of the system is live – the other part will be live my the end of the month!

I have already redone and rerun all the payruns for any March furloughed employees.

This means that Xero will calculate the furlough pay, Employers NI and Employers Pension contributions for us according to HMRC guidance.  At the end of April, Xero are going to release a report that means we can easily then upload this information to the (yet to be released) CJRS claim system.

Your employees will receive a payslip as usual from Xero – they will just have a line item that splits out furlough pay (80% of their wage) and if you are topping that up to 100% a line for regular earnings.  All employees will be taxed for PAYE and NI as usual.

If any of your staff have holiday booked whilst they are on furlough we will cancel this holiday in Xero as they cannot be on holiday and be furloughed at the same time.

CJRS Claim System

This is going to go live on 20th April.  This means that HMRC are releasing the system on that date – it does not mean we will be processing your claims on this date – I will explain why further down.

As your PAYE agent we should be able to access your claim form and process the claims for you. They are estimating that once your claim is submitted you should receive funds in 6 working days. The only way to claim CJRS is via this new online portal.  We should have all the information we require to make these claims for you and we will confirm to you once the claims have been sent.

Why can we not make the claims immediately?

Coronavirus has fallen at the end of the UK tax year. This means that we have several steps that we need to follow to complete your payroll year end, send your staff their P60’s and start the new tax year before we can run April payroll. Why have we not processed your 2019/2020 payroll year end yet? It is as simple as we had to wait until Xero released the new payroll system to include furlough – this was yesterday.  We have a team plan and we are going to prioritise payroll next week – please can I ask you do not ask us to complete any non essential work next week so we can focus on your payrolls for April.

When will you make my claim?

If you had furlough staff in March – I will run your claims first. There are not many and I will manually recreate the Xero report that is not yet released.  If your furlough started in April, I will need to wait for Xero to release this report template in order to complete the claims – we will keep you up to date and rest assured that we will be totally prepared so that as soon as the report is available we will run the claims as top priority.

Things to remember

Employees can only be furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks.

You must have a written (not email) signed agreement with each furlough employee.

Employees still have full employment rights and holiday still accrues as usual.

Change – staff employed up to 19th March CAN now be furloughed.

The delays we are facing in completing Year End and moving onto April pay are not Xero’s fault – it is Coronavirus! Xero have been amazing and building this new system and training us on it.

Please bear with us

It must be incredibly frustrating not knowing when you will receive your claim rebates but we are acting with the information we have and at time of writing this I have absolutely no idea what the portal will look like and how time intensive the claim process will be. We will be running claims each month with payroll hereafter – we cannot do an endless claim as we have no idea when staff are being un-furloughed until we ask you. We will be emailing you all to ask for specific payroll information for April. PLEASE can I ask that you reply swiftly so this does not hold us up.

Thank you for your patience.