Despite contacting Sage Support on Friday 24 Apr for an explanation as to why their Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme module was giving me incorrect figures for variable pay employees, the only explanation I have received to date is that "HMRC have approved our calculations". Despite escalating the query within Sage and being promised on more than one occasion that "a call is being arranged for you from one of our product specialists", no such call has been forthcoming. This is not good enough. It is not acceptable for Sage to try and pass the buck and blame HMRC. They have a duty to ensure that their module is producing calculations that accord with Government guidelines, irrespective of whether HMRC have approved it or not.
One of my clients had two employees, furloughed from 1 Apr to 30 Apr, with differing amounts of variable pay (all eligible for furlough). The CJRS module calculated their "100% Earnings" correctly, but then said that their "Furloughed Earnings" were 82.1% of this figure, despite all their earnings being eligible for furlough! The resulting "80% Furlough" claim was actually only 65.7% (being 80% of 82.1% instead of 100%). Yes there are potential differences because the module calculates on a tax monthly basis using calendar days, but those differences are nowhere near sufficient to explain to my clients why the Furlough claim I have submitted on their behalf is 17.9% less than it should be.
We rely on Sage to get the calculations right. If there is a problem with the CJRS calculations, it needs to publicised and fixed urgently. HMRC are under intense pressure to handle all the measures that the Chancellor has introduced to support businesses through this crisis. We do not want that pressure to be increased because thousands of us have submitted incorrect CJRS claims that need to amended because we relied on a module that may be fundamentally flawed. It's time that heads were extracted out of the sand. Answers need to be provided. We need to know what's going wrong.
If you have used the Sage Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme module for employees with variable pay, furloughed for a calendar month, my advice would be to check your calculations manually before you submit a claim. If you encounter similar problems to me, it would be helpful to know.