Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Frequently Asked Questions

Definitions:

  • AW = Agency worker
  • CJRS = Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)?

CJRS enables employers to submit a claim for eligible AW for an individual CJRS grant for 80% of AW’s usual income up to £2,500 a month. The current minimum period of furlough per individual AW is 3 weeks and the maximum period is 3 months. We understand this period could be subject to further extension.

Any grant amount received for each AW will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance as usual. AW will also pay automatic pension enrolment contributions on qualifying earnings, unless they have chosen to opt-out or to cease saving into a workplace pension scheme.

We will not make any deductions for administrating the grant application or releasing funds to AW.

Am I eligible for inclusion on CJRS?

To qualify as eligible for the scheme, AW must have registered and been payrolled by Quest Pay Solutions on or before 28th February 2020. This payroll information must have been submitted through the HMRC Real Time Information (RTI) system. If you started after 28th February and were not part of a live RTI submission, then you will not be deemed eligible for CJRS by the government.

Can I request to be furloughed?

Yes. However please note that the decision to furlough AW is at the discretion of Quest Pay Solutions and is subject to agreement with AW. It is not an employee right.

If I reach agreement with Quest Pay Solutions to be furloughed am I guaranteed a grant payment through CJRS?

Unfortunately not. The final decision remains with the government on both eligibility and any payment amounts. We will not know the outcome of this decision until the individual AW’s CJRS claim is submitted by Quest Pay Solutions through the portal.

Quest Pay Solutions agreeing to Furlough AW is not a guarantee of any future payment. The government decision on grant application success by individual AW will be final.

How does CJRS work?

Our current understanding is that there are a number of steps to be undertaken:

1. Quest Pay Solutions and AW reach agreement on whether or not to furlough AW.

2. Quest Pay Solutions submit a claim via the planned HMRC portal for a grant payment for CJRS on behalf of each AW.

3. Government make a judgement on the eligibility and amount of each AW claim submitted by Quest Pay Solutions.

4. Government release funds to Quest Pay Solutions.

5. Quest Pay Solutions release balance of funds to AW after the usual employee income deductions. Quest Pay Solutions will not make any deductions for administrating the scheme.

What amount will I receive through CJRS?

The first important element to clarify is that the scheme is not designed to replace ALL lost earnings, only up to 80% of a regular income to a maximum of £2,500 in a calendar month.

Quest Pay Solutions will submit a claim for a CJRS grant payment for each furloughed worker, based on the following calculations:

  • AW Full-time and part-time and same monthly pay. The actual income as at 28th February 2020,
  • AW with 12 months’ plus service and whose pay varies. The higher of either the AW’s same month’s earnings from the previous year or average monthly earnings from the 2019/20 tax year.
  • AW with less than 12 months’ service and whose pay varies. Quest Pay Solutions will submit a claim for a grant payment for AW’s known average monthly earnings since starting work with Quest Pay Solutions.
  • AW started in February 2020. Quest Pay Solutions will submit a pro-rata claim for a grant payment on behalf of AW.

Please Note: Submitting a claim for CJRS is not a guarantee of CJRS grant payment.

When will I be paid through CJRS?

This is not yet clear. We are seeking confirmation that the portal for grant applications by individual AW will be live for processing before the end of April 2020. Current indications are that it is expected to be launched within 4-6 weeks.

Quest Pay Solutions is a well-established, professional payroll company. We have made it clear to various representative and authoritative bodies (including the REC and APSCo) that we will be unable to access sufficient funds to pay AW until the individual AW grant has been received and each AW eligibility confirmed by the government.

This will be no different to every other recruitment agency and the government is aware of the necessity of the portal being live to process the individual AW grant payments.

Once the portal is live and the AW eligibility is confirmed then we would expect to be able to process the AW grant on a monthly basis. It is unlikely that we would be able to process payments in any shorter period as the minimum period of furlough as set by government is 3 weeks. We are currently working on the assumption that the portal will be live and processing CJRS grant submissions by the end of April. We will keep you updated in real-time on any developments on this.

Can I work for another employer whilst of furlough with Quest Pay Solutions?

Please be careful with any decision that you make in this area. The current guidance is far from clear. Below is our current understanding but is highly likely to be subject to further clarification or change in legislation which could make you ineligible for CJRS.

For the avoidance of doubt this is not advice from Quest Pay Solutions and we are not liable for any decision each individual AW takes.

Potentially an AW who has different jobs with different employers (e.g. a few part-time jobs) will be able to continue to work for one employer while being furloughed by another as long as AW does not increase their hours or accept hours that overlap with the usual hours worked for the role they are furloughed from.

There would potentially seem to be nothing to stop AW, who has been furloughed from one employer from starting another job with a different employer during this period, subject to anything expressly to the contrary in their contract or any overlap in hours as above.

The application of this legislation is at best unclear. Please do not do anything that would jeopardise your eligibility for CJRS.

I am already confirmed on assignment through Quest Pay Solutions. Can I choose to be furloughed?

No. You can request being furloughed but the decision is at the discretion of Quest Pay Solutions.

Given current lack of clarity on guaranteed grant payments Quest Pay Solutions is advising all AW to remain working on any current assignment for as long as it is available to you and it is safe to do so. Your weekly assignment is guaranteed income and is paid weekly as per your current payment schedule.

I am currently on assignment through Quest Pay Solutions. Can I be furloughed once the assignment ends?

Yes, subject to reaching agreement with Quest Pay Solutions. We are advising all AW to stay on working on any current assignment for as long as it is available to you and it is safe to do so. Your weekly assignment is guaranteed income and is paid weekly as per your current payment schedule.

What are my responsibilities to Quest Pay Solutions whilst furloughed?

Any furloughed AW will not be allowed to do any work for Quest Pay Solutions or Quest Pay Solutions’s end client while furloughed. The only exception is volunteer work or training.

What if I am not eligible for CJRS?

Current guidance is to speak to the Department for Work & Pensions regarding loss of earnings and / or inclusion in Universal Credit / New Style Employment & Support Allowance.

Can I be furloughed by more than one employer?

Yes. You can be furloughed by more than one employer.