COVID-19: Information for Payroll Professionals

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK, there have been a range of measures introduced by the Government and HMRC which have a direct impact on payroll.

IRIS is continually working to keep our customers updated with the latest advice and guidance on handling the changes, including the implementation of new features in our software.

We understand that it may be difficult to digest all the information out there, know which sources can be trusted, and at the same time, keep abreast of the most recent guidance.

Our experts at IRIS are constantly updating this page to help and advise you, the payroll professionals. 

Furlough Extension

Update 25th Nov 2020

We are pleased to announce payroll updates to assist with the extension of the furlough scheme are now available for the following products:

The updated version of the Furlough Spreadsheet,v1.23, and guidance is now available:

Update 17th Nov 2020

We have updated our guidance on how to address common mistakes made while calculating employee’s furlough payments:

Update 6th Nov 2020

On Sunday 1st November the government announced the extension to the Furlough scheme, a further announcement that followed on the 5th Nov 2020 stated the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March 2021.

What are the latest changes?

The rules for Furlough claims will be the same as those processed in August:

  • The Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for the hours an employee is on furlough
  • Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee is on furlough

What IRIS is Doing?

In August we introduced functionality which enabled the processing of flexible Furlough changes, via a spreadsheet. We are currently making changes to the spreadsheet to enable continued claims. We will make this available to download as soon as possible.

We are also creating new guides to reflect the latest guidance and any required system changes. These will be available for each product on their respective Furlough/JSS KBs:

If you use any of the following products, you will need to apply a software update:

If you use any of the following products, you will not require a software update, only access to the updated spreadsheet

  • Earnie IQ
  • IRIS Payroll Professional

What will happen to the IRIS Payroll and Earnie updates, including my ePay Window?

We will still be introducing my ePay Window with the upcoming release, however the update will be delayed to allow for the furlough changes to be included.

My company is in Scotland/Wales can we still claim Furlough?

Yes, the Furlough scheme has been extended nationally.

Can I still use flexible Furlough?


What do I need to do?

Please monitor this page ( which we will update with the latest advice. We will also provide updates via support messages/emails.

Software updates are now available, see above for download links.

The updated version of the Furlough Spreadsheet,v1.23, and guidance is now available:

For the products requiring a software update, the spreadsheet will also be provided with the update.

We will continue to keep you updated, however, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated support team, click here for contact details.

Furloughed Employees and the Job Retention Scheme

Update 6th Nov 2020

HMRC have made further changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Several guides and helpful documents have been produced by IRIS to help with calculating and submitting claims. Guides for processing furlough payments within our payroll software are available here:

Details of how to manually calculate furlough payments are available here

Additional guidance has been produced to support with recent customer queries including:

Job Support Scheme

Update 6th Nov 2020

Following the announcement of the extension of the furlough scheme until March 2021, we are removing guidance on the JSS.

Job Retention Bonus

Update 8th October 2020

The Job Retention Bonus is a £1,000 one-off taxable payment to you (the employer), for each eligible employee that you furloughed for any period, who have since been continuously employed (and continue to be employed until 31st January 2021).

You’ll be able to claim the bonus between 15th February 2021 and 31 March 2021. You do not have to pay this money to your employee.

Useful links

HMRC: Find out if you’re eligible to claim the Job Retention Bonus and what you need to do to claim it.

HMRC example: Deciding which employees meet the minimum income threshold for the Job Retention Bonus

CJRS file format change if claim includes 100 employees or more

Update 22nd Sept 2020

If you’re claiming on or after 1 July 2020 for 100 or more employees, the template used for submitting a claim for 100 or more employees has been updated. Employers must now include if an employee has returned from statutory leave before being put on furlough.

Please see KB for more details:

Changes to Statutory Sick Pay

On 4th March the Government announced temporary changes to the rules regarding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to help with those suffering from Covid-19.

The change removed the need for ‘waiting days’ and allows employees to receive SSP from their first day of sickness. Further details, including how to manage this in our payroll products, are available here

Other Changes

The Government also made a last-minute change to Off-Payroll Working, delaying its introduction until April 2021. Further details are available here.

Other Sources of information

Government – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme up and running

Government – Coronavirus (Covid-19): Guidance on Job Retention Scheme

Government – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme calculator

Government – Suspending Direct Earnings Attachments(DEAs)

Government – Support for small and medium-sized businesses

Apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Government – Support for large businesses

Apply for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme

Apply for the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility

Because some elements of business support are devolved, the measures you can access may differ if your business is in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

ACAS – Coronavirus: advice for employers and employees

The Pension Regulator – COVID-19: what you need to consider

The Pension Regulator – COVID-19 guidance for employers

The Pension Regulator – COVID-19 technical guidance for large employers