On 26 May 2020, HMRC’s Software Developer Support Team (SDST) came out to software developers on two points.  These will impact any Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) functionality that is contained in your payroll software: Amendment to the calculator and Employee upload file.

Look out for changes to your software functionality:

Amendment to the Calculator

The announcement said that HMRC had amended its calculator so that top-up / discretionary payments can now be included where they are made in the claim period.

Both the guidance (the 21 May 2020 update version) and the calculator make clear that the value of the National Insurance Contributions grant should be capped at 13.8% of the pay grant.

HMRC are not asking that any previously submitted claims are amended, though employers should make sure this cap is applied for any claims going forward.

In software, therefore, the instruction to developers from HMRC was that ‘no amount greater than this should be displayed to the customer as the final result of the CJRS grant calculation for the National Insurance element’.

Employee File Upload

It is important to realise that there are two ‘types’ of claims:

  1. CJRS grant claims for less than 100 furloughed employees and
  2. CJRS grant claims for more than 100 furloughed employees

There are clarifications for both types, including changes for one of them.

Less than 100

These have to be done manually.

HMRC’s guidance (the 21 May 2020 update version) was amended to make it clear in the ‘what you’ll need’ section that separate amounts will be needed for the following grant claims:

  1. Employee wages
  2. Employer National Insurance Contributions
  3. Employer minimum pension contributions

The previous guidance (the 14 May 2020 update version) just said ‘the full amount you’re claiming for including employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum pension contributions.

SDST did not make any mention of this in their communication to developers.  There was no reason to, in fairness.

100 or More

These have to be done by file upload.

HMRC’s communication said that they are ‘continually reviewing CJRS functionality to enhance the service’ and have looked at the file upload process.  They have ‘simplified’ the number of data items that have to be uploaded and advise ‘we no longer require any information that the employer already keys into the portal when making their claim’.

As a result, they just need to know the full amount that is to be claimed per employee, not the individual pay, NICs and pension amounts.

HMRC’s guidance dated 14 May 2020 did say this, indeed, their guidance updates from 27 April 2020 have said this as well.  However, this is the first time that HMRC’s SDST have amended their information requirements since software developers were first given them on 09 April 2020 (at 6pm on Maundy Thursday).

So, upload files must contain only the following data:

  • Employee name
  • Employee National Insurance Number
  • Payroll reference number
  • Furlough start date
  • Furlough end date
  • Employee claim amount (total)

As above, HMRC are not asking that any previously submitted claims are amended, though this ‘forward looking change that should be incorporated when possible (if it hasn’t already)’.


Cintra will be implementing these changes in accordance with the revised guidance and instruction from HMRC.


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