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Job Retention Scheme : Furlough Guidance
by Chris Hatcher

On Friday 20 March 2020, the Chancellor announced a new "Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme" to help pay people's wages.  Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak.  Any employer in the country is eligible for the scheme.

As the system is not straightforward we have re-produced guidance from our governing body the ICAEW and The UK200 Group.  The Government guidance can also be accessed by clicking here.

We have also produced a sample letter which you should adapt for your individual circumstances.

ICAEW - Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

UK200 Group - Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Job Retention Scheme - Sample Furlough Letter

What you'll need to make a claim when online service is available [due 20 April 2020]

  • Your employer PAYE reference number
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • National Insurance numbers for the employees you want to furlough
  • Names of the employees you want to furlough
  • Payroll number for the employees you want to furlough
  • Your self-assessment unique taxpayer reference or corporation tax unique taxpayer reference, or company number
  • The claim period (start and end date)
  • Amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • Your bank account number and sort code
  • Your contact name
  • Your phone number

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming.  HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.

If you use an agent who is authorised to act for you for PAYE purposes, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf.  If you use a file only agent (who files your RTI return but doesn't act for you on any other matters) they won't be authorised to make a claim for you and you will need to make the claim yourself.  Your file only agent can assist you in obtaining the information you need to claim (which is listed above).


You should make your claim using the amounts in your payroll - either shortly before or during running payroll.  Claims can be backdated until the 1 March where employees have already been furloughed.