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Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Eligibility date changed from 28 February to 19 March 2020 in the latest update to the guidance

15 April 2020
The fourth update to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") guidance has been published on 15 April 2020.  

The key points to note from the latest guidance include:

PAYE payroll scheme – In order to make a claim the employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 (previously 28 February 2020).  

Employees you can claim for – Employers can only claim for furloughed employees that were on the payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and which were notified to HMRC on an RTI (real time information) submission on or before 19 March 2020.

Redundant / stopped working - If an employer made an employee redundant or they stopped working for the employer on or after 28 February 2020, the employer can re-employ the employee, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the CJRS. The updated guidance makes it clear that this applies regardless of whether the employee is re-employed before or after 19 March 2020. This applies as long as the employee was on the payroll as at 28 February and had been notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February 2020. 

Multiple employers - If an employee has had multiple employers over the past year, has only worked for one of them at any one time, and is being furloughed by their current employer, their former employer/s should not re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the CJRS.

Unpaid leave – If an employee started unpaid leave after 28 February 2020, employers can put the employee on furlough instead. If an employee went on unpaid leave on or before 28 February, employers cannot furlough them until the date on which it was agreed they would return from unpaid leave.

Full or part time employees' salary calculation – the key date for calculating salary has now been changed from 28 February 2020 to 19 March 2020.  If, based on previous guidance, employers have calculated a claim based on the employee’s salary as at 28 February 2020 (and this differs from their salary in their last pay period prior to 19 March 2020) the employer can choose to still use this calculation for the first claim.

Further guidance on what employers will need to make a claim – The guidance provides further detail on what employers will need to do to make a claim:

  • If you have fewer than 100 furloughed staff you will be asked to enter details of each employee you are claiming for directly into the system - this will include their name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, and payroll/employee number (optional).
  • If you have 100 or more furloughed staff you will be asked to upload a file with the information rather than input it directly into the system. The system will accept the following file types: .xls .xlsx .csv .ods
  • The file should include the following information for each furloughed employee: name, National Insurance number, claim period and claim amount, payroll/employee number (optional).
  • You should retain all records and calculations in respect of your claims.


We have seen regular updates to the CJRS as HMRC grapples with the mechanics of the scheme.  This latest guidance makes no reference to the key issue of how holiday interacts with the CJRS.  We will keep you updated.

The Chancellor has made a Treasury Direction setting out the legal framework for the CJRS.   The rules are complex and employers will need to ensure the updated guidance and the rules are adhered to.  We are currently analysing the legal framework and will keep you updated.

If you would like any further information with regard to the issues raised in this update please contact your usual DWF contact or another member of the Employment Team.  

Key resources 

Government CJRS guidance for employers 

Government CJRS guidance for employees 

Government support FAQs 

Acas Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for employers and employees

Pensions Regulator Guidance

The Coronavirus Act 2020 Functions of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) Direction 

DWF Legal Update on the CJRS guidance on 26 March 2020 

DWF Legal Update on the CJRS updated guidance on 4 April 2020 

DWF Legal Update on the CJRS updated guidance on 9 April 2020 

Further Reading

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