The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) officially went live on 20 April 2020. In light of this, the government has released guidelines explaining exactly what employers need to do to claim for their employees’ wages.

Below is a step-by-step guide which has been put together by HMRC and details everything from the information you’ll need to provide to how to calculate and make your claim.


1. Are you eligible?

Businesses can claim for certain employees – find out if you’re eligible here. You will also need to have registered for online PAYE which we’ve gone into more detail about here.


2.  Gather all the essential information you’ll need to provide

To make a claim yourself, you will need to provide the following information to HMRC. Please have all these details ready before you access the system.

  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • The dates employees have been furloughed to and from
  • Details of each employee – name and National Insurance number
  • Your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • Your Corporation Tax Unique Taxpayer Reference, Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Company Registration Number as appropriate for your entity
  • Your UK bank account details
  • Your organisation’s registered name and address

If you’ve instructed an agent such as PKB Accountants to make your claim for you, they can claim for the CJRS on your behalf. You will need to provide them with all the information above as well as the bank account you would like the funds to be paid into.


3.  Calculating a claim

For the majority of employers with full-time or part-time employees on a set salary, you will need to work out the following for the claim period:

  • The total amount being paid to furloughed employees (you can claim for 80% of your employee’s wages – up to a maximum of £2,500 a month per employee) 
  • The total employer NICs 
  • The total employer pension contributions (up to 3%)

For more information and for examples on more complex contracts and variable pay, please visit the guidance. There is also a claim calculator you can use to check your claim. Alternatively, you can get in touch with PKB and we’ll be more than happy to help.


4.  Making a claim

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, you or your agent can access the system on In order to do this, please ensure you have a Government Gateway ID and password and an active PAYE enrolment. If you don’t have these, you can register for them on the website.

Please ensure you have enough time to complete your application. Currently, there isn’t a save and return option so it will need to be done in one session. Sessions will also time out after 30 minutes of inactivity which is why it’s a good idea to get all your documents in order beforehand.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be taken through a series of steps in the online service. You will need to confirm that you’ve furloughed your employees, then you will need to input the information about your organisation which you prepared in step 2.

After this, confirm the amount of the claim – split into the total amount to be paid to furloughed employees and the total pension and national insurance contributions, that you will have prepared in step 3. Before you submit the application, you will also need to confirm your employees’ details, enter your UK bank details and your address.

Once you’ve submitted the claim, you will see a confirmation screen where a claim reference number will be provided. Print the confirmation screen or note down the claim reference number provided – you will not receive an email confirmation.

If you’re submitting the claim yourself, it’s your responsibility to check the accuracy of your claim. If you’re using an agent, ask them to note down and share the calculations that form the basis for your claim and the claim reference number provided. They will not receive an email confirmation, but they can print the confirmation screen.

To ensure that the funds are paid as quickly as possible to you, your agent should input your bank details into the system, not theirs.

If you’re an employer with more than 100 employees, you’ll need to provide more detail in your submission including:

  • Claim amount per furloughed employee 
  • Claim period for each furloughed employee 
  • You’ll also need to upload the claim information in one of the following formats: XLS, XLSX, CSV or ODP


5.  After you’ve made your claim

  • HMRC will verify your claim and you’ll receive the funds in six working days. Please don’t contact HMRC before six working days have passed as they won’t be able to help you with your claim. 
  • Keep hold of your claim reference number in case you do need to get in touch with HMRC after the six days.
  • Retain any calculations that form the basis of your claim in case further information is required by HMRC. 
  • Tell your furloughed employees that you’ve made a claim and that they don’t need to take any further action. They should not contact HMRC to check the status of a claim.

Please note that payments may be withheld or may need to be repaid in full to HMRC if the claim is based on dishonest or inaccurate information or found to be fraudulent. Dishonest or deliberately fraudulent claims put HMRC’s essential public services and the protection of livelihoods at risk during these challenging times. 

If you’d like further information about claiming through the CJRS, HMRC have put together a number of helpful webinars on their YouTube channel or you can head to the website.

PKB can also help you with your claims so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you require any assistance.  



To read news and blogs from Rebecca Austin, click here >>