Employment Allowance 2020/21

Employment Allowance allows eligible employers to reduce their Employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NIC) by up to £4,000 in a tax year.

Available allowance

The maximum allowance available to your business is £4,000, or the total amount of the Employer’s NIC for the year if this is less than £4,000. For example, if the Employer’s NIC for the year totals £500, this is the maximum amount that can be reclaimed. If however the Employer’s NIC is £4,200, the total reclaim is £4,000 resulting in the remaining £200 being the cost to the business.

Businesses that can and can’t claim

Employment Allowance is available for most employers who pay Class 1 NIC on their employees’ and directors’ earnings; in other words Employer’s National Insurance. This includes businesses, charities and amateur community sports clubs.

There are a small number of businesses and organisations that can’t claim Employment Allowance, such as:

  • Those employing domestic workers, e.g. nanny, gardener
  • A group of businesses that are, or may appear to be, connected to one another
  • An organisation that has more than one payroll scheme
  • Payrolls where the director is the only employee on the payroll
  • Where the Employer’s NIC liability for 2019/20 was £100,000 or more

Connected businesses

Businesses are considered ‘connected’ when:

  • One company has control of another company
  • Two companies are under the control of the same person(s)
  • The same person(s) control two or more charities which share the same purpose and activity
  • Two charities belong to a group
  • A charity controls a trading business

In these situations, ‘control’ is:

  • Where a person has or is entitled to acquire the greater part of the share capital or voting power in a company
  • In the event of a distribution of the company’s income, the greater part of the amount distributed
  • In the event of distribution of assets, the greater part of the company’s assets

When any of the above ‘connections’ apply, only one of the PAYE schemes involved can claim Employment Allowance. You are free to nominate which PAYE scheme can claim. We recommend nominating a scheme with a large amount of gross salary involved, to ensure you benefit from the allowance in full and as quickly as possible. Please speak to us if you require clarification or more detailed guidance on what ‘connects’ a business or charity.

If your business has more than one PAYE scheme

If your business or charity has more than one PAYE scheme, you can only claim Employment Allowance against one of those schemes as long as the group did not have an Employer’s NIC liability of more than £100,000 for the 2019/20 tax year.

Claiming the allowance

For the company where Employment Allowance is being claimed, the Employer’s NIC is still included on the payroll and we will reduce the liability due to HMRC by the allowance available.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with your usual BKL contact or use our enquiry form.



Sam Inkersole

In 2022, Sam won the Taxation’s Rising Star award at the Taxation Awards in and was named in the Accountancy Age 35 Under 35.

Jon Wedge

While Jon’s client work focuses on the financial services sector, he also oversees the firm’s assurance service, as well as supporting the trainees following in his footsteps.


Elana joined us in 2017 as an ACA trainee, after graduating from Durham University where she had studied languages. She is now a manager in our assurance team.


By submitting this form, the data provided will be used to perform your request according to our privacy policy.