BECTU Clarifies Rules for PAYE Freelance Staff


Media union, BECTU has announced that the Treasury has clarified guidance on how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) should be interpreted for PAYE fixed term contract workers.

Bectu urgently contacted the Treasury twice in 48 hours – on Friday and Saturday last week – after a week of confusion about how the CJRS should be implemented due to mixed interpretations about updates to the CJRS guidance.

Pact, the trade association for independent producers in film and TV, had issued guidance to its members advising that where a fixed-term contract has come to an end ‘naturally’ rather than directly because of COVID-19 or where there was no prospect of continued work that person was not eligible for furlough.

The JRS has been further clarified and outlines that someone can be re-employed, furloughed and claimed for if:

Their contract expired after 28 February 2020 and a PAYE Real Time Information( (RTI) payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 28 February 2020 or
their contract expired after 19 March 2020 and an RTI payment submission for the employee was notified to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020
The key requirement is that a person was on the RTI sometime before the cut-off date of 19 March.

Head of Bectu, Philippa Childs said: “The Treasury’s timely response to this issue is welcome. Clearly the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was created very quickly to deal the unprecedented situation we find ourselves.

“We are committed to continue working with the Treasury to ensure that the CJRS is interpreted correctly by employers so that as many people as possible can benefit from it.

“Employers must now engage with us to ensure that industry workers do not suffer unnecessarily during the pandemic. There are serious long term economic implications for the entire creative sector if the workforce is not financially protected. This includes other sectors recruiting our hardworking, creative people and benefiting from all the training and experience the creative industries have given them.”