We are Engage• 3 Min read

1st May 2020

Coronavirus Retention Scheme Help

On Wednesday 18th March, Boris Johnson announced that schools would be closing the following week to try to stop the spread of Coronavirus. A few days later, a further announcement came that all non-essential businesses should close and workers be sent home.

Working across both recruitment and education means much of our everyday business has had to change and adapt, and our main aim remains to continue to support the people we work with during this difficult time. For many of our teachers and support staff at our partner schools, the lockdown could mean an extended period of time on leave – or ‘furlough’. Although we continue to recruit for various roles we are very aware that many of our teachers, support staff and colleagues will be facing a period of financial uncertainty.

The Government has announced several different schemes to help supplement individual incomes up to 80%, for those who are unable to work because of Coronavirus. There are different eligibility criteria for contract and agency workers, permanent employees and the self-employed, so it’s important to find the right information relevant to your personal situation. 


Agency and Umbrella Company Workers

For individuals that are working part-time with an agency or whose payroll is managed by an umbrella company, it’s vital to understand your rights and what you might be entitled to aswell as who will be claiming for you (either your agency or umbrella company).

Agency or Contract workers paid by an Umbrella company:

If you are usually paid by an umbrella company, they are responsible for claiming on your behalf. Your agency may be able to offer advice and signpost you to further information, but it’s the umbrella company that must make a claim through HMRC.

Once eligibility is established they will use your average earnings to calculate the amount that can be claimed for you.

Agency or Contract workers paid by PAYE:

Depending on your contract start date, you may be eligible to be furloughed and receive 80% of your average monthly earnings up to £2,500. This money is paid by the government directly to companies who must claim for each employee individually. If you have worked for less than a year, the company will use the following calculation:

Money earned / how many weeks since you started work = 100% of earnings

The 80% will then be taken from this figure and you’ll either be paid weekly or monthly.

Where To Go Next

Find out how the government is helping individuals who don’t come under their main schemes

FSCA information for umbrella and agency workers

Speak to your umbrella company and agency to discuss your options


Permanent employees (paid via PAYE)

Permanent employees can be furloughed under The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The CJRS is designed to help PAYE employees in situations where their employer would otherwise have to terminate their employment. As long as your employer submitted your information via RTI to HMRC before the 19th of March, you will be eligible for this scheme. 

The amount you receive will be worked out based on 80% of your most recent payslip. There are some caveats to the CJRS so it’s essential to talk to your employer about your eligibility.

Where to go next:

Find out more information about how the government is helping PAYE employees

Find out if you are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Speak to your employer – they are best placed to offer advice relevant to your personal circumstances


Self Employed: 

If you are classed as self-employed, the government has provided a separate scheme which will pay a part of your salary based on your earnings in previous years. You’ll have to provide proof of your earnings and payments will be made from June onwards.

Where to go next

Find out more information about what the government is doing to help self-employed workers

Apply for a government grant for self-employed individuals

Speak to your accountant about your personal circumstances for further help


We aim to do everything possible to help the people we work with access to the right information. We’ve ensured we can continue to function with the majority of our consultants able to work from home and we are available on all of our usual contact channels to discuss work opportunities. 


Do you work with Engage Education?

We’ve set up a dedicated email group to help our candidates get support and advice around the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. Please email GJRS@engagepartners.co.uk any furlough-related questions.


Looking for more help or support relating to Coronavirus? Visit our new Coronavirus Hub here

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