Last week saw a number of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“the CJRS”) and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (“the CSSPRS”). We set out below the key changes that employers need to be aware of.

CJRS – what is changing?

On Friday (29 May), the Chancellor of the Exchequer provided more detail about reforms to the CJRS which are intended to support businesses and employees as people begin to return to work. While further guidance is expected to be published on 12 June, the basic framework of how the scheme will operate over the coming months has been clarified. The key changes and dates of note for employers are summarised in the timeline below.



Level of Government Contribution

10 June


From 30 June, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to that date. Therefore, 10 June is the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time. Employers will have until 31 July to make claims in respect of the period to 30 June.

No change. Government continues to pay 80% of wages (up to £2,500 cap), employer National Insurance Contributions (“ER NICs”) and pension contributions.

12 June

Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published.

From 1 July


“Flexible furlough” will begin, meaning employees will be able to work part-time. Businesses can decide the hours and shift patterns that their employees will work and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.


From 1 August


Tapering of the level of government grant begins.

Government pays 80% of wages, up to £2,500 cap. Employers pay ER NICs and pension contributions.

From 1 September

Tapering of the level of government grant increases.

Government pays 70% of wages, up to cap of £2,187.50. Employers pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 (or more, depending on what the employer agreed with the employee)

From 1 October


Tapering of the level of government grant increases.

Government pays 60% of wages, up to a cap of £1,875. Employers pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages, to make up 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 (or more).

31 October

Scheme will close.


The level of contributions to wages being asked of employers may be less than some had feared and with more businesses being able to reopen as restrictions are gradually lifted, it is hoped that businesses will have the financial capacity to be able to offset the contributions.

The scheme will end at the end of October and at that point employers will need to consider their options and decide how to manage their workforce going forward. For some, that may mean bringing staff back to work full time and with full pay. For others, it may involve seeking to agree reduced salaries with employees, lay-offs and short-time working (see our Factsheet on these), or in some cases, redundancies.

The Self-Employment Support Scheme is also being extended and in August self-employed individuals will be able to apply for a second and final grant. The grant will be 70% of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, capped at £6,750 in total.

Further details of both schemes can be found in the Government Factsheet for the CJRS and SEISS schemes.

Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”) – what has changed?

Test and Trace

Entitlement to SSP has been extended, under the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020, to those who are told to isolate under the new “Test and Trace” system, which started operating in England last week (28 May). Accordingly, a person who is notified through the “Test and Trace” system that they have had contact with a person with coronavirus and therefore must self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to SSP (as long as they meet the eligibility conditions).

The NHS Test and Trace service will provide a notification that can be used as evidence to an employer that someone has been told to self-isolate.

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

HMRC has published guidance on how employers should use the CSSPRS to claim back SSP in relation to coronavirus related sickness.

The scheme is available to employers who had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 and repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms (if the period of sickness started on or after 13 March 2020);
  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks (if the period of sickness started on or after 16 April 2020); or
  • are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or a public health body that they have come into contact with someone with coronavirus (if the period of sickness started on or after 28 May 2020).

Employers are required to keep records relating to SSP that they claim back from HMRC for a period of 3 years after the date that they receive payment for the claim. HMRC may request these if there is a dispute over payment of SSP.

Managing the ongoing workforce situation arising from Covid-19 continues to raise a number of queries and issues for employers to grapple with. Managing health and safety factors is a major consideration and doing so fairly is key to minimising litigation risk. If you have any queries on Covid-19 employment issues, or for specialist employment advice or support, please get in touch with our employment team.


For further support and advice relating to the impact of COVID-19, please view our COVID-19 Advisory Service page.

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