Furlough scheme opens for claims

Here’s everything you need to know about the coronavirus job retention scheme

The government’s furlough scheme to help pay wages and support businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic has gone live.

HMRC’s online coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) service went live on April 20 with the first claims being paid six days later.

Applicants can claim for wages using the government gateway user ID and password generated while registering for PAYE online.

Following HMRC checks, the claim amount will be paid by Bacs within six working days.

File-only agents and payroll bureaus will not be able to access the service “due to data protection reasons”.

With a design capacity of 450,000 users per hour, HMRC says it is ready to meet the initial influx of backdated claims.

HMRC has also said it would be setting up an online “whistle-blower” service for workers to report employers who abuse the system.

Coronavirus job retention scheme explained

The job retention scheme pays employees 80 per cent of their usual earnings, capped at £2,500 per month per worker.

It’s designed to support businesses during the fallout from Covid-19 while keeping employees on the payroll.

Furloughed workers cannot undertake work for or on behalf of their employer.

Any UK business with employees can apply for the scheme as long as they had set up a payroll scheme before February 28.

Employees that started their job after February 28, 2020 are not eligible but those that were made redundant after this date can be put on furlough rehired.

The coronavirus job retention scheme was originally intended to run to June 1, 2020, however it has been extended until at least the end of that month.

In a statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our unprecedented job retention scheme will protect millions of jobs across the country and is now up and running.

“It’s vital that our economy gets up and running again as soon as it’s safe – and this scheme will allow that to happen.”

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