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‘Furlough’ entered the popular lexicon following the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
With the pandemic affecting millions, it is expected that employers’ reliance on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will only become greater as businesses try to deal with the fallout of the virus.
In our latest blog, we explore what it means and why the launch of the furlough scheme earlier today (20 April 2020) is an important step in providing employees and employers with stability, security, and support.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme NOW open for applications
As of today (20 April 2020), the CJRS is now live, so businesses hit by coronavirus (COVID-19) can apply online for a grant from HMRC to cover the labour costs of furloughed staff.
CJRS is a new wage support measure announced by the Government in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is designed to protect and support employers, who are facing difficulties, to continue paying wages rather than making people redundant.
Under the initiative, the Government will cover 80% of furloughed workers’ wages for March, April, May and now June up to £2,500 per person, per month, before tax.
Although announced back in March, it is only now that companies will be able to claim with the online portal going live today. The reimbursement should arrive within six working days of making the claim.
Who can claim?
To claim for CJRS you must have:
- Created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
- Enrolled for PAYE online
- A UK bank account
Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.
Thousands more furloughed employees eligible as the scheme is extended until 30 June 2020
Announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, the job retention scheme is part of a broader package of support and allows employers to claim the funds to help pay wages.
The scheme came into effect on 1 March and was due to last an initial three months. However, the CJRS has since been extended until 30 June 2020 to reflect the current situation. Further extensions to this date will depend on the implementation of any subsequent tightening of lockdown measures.
In a press release issued last week (15 April 2020), the Government announced the extension of the CJRS cut-off date to 19 March 2020 (previously individuals had to be employed on 28th February). Thousands more will now be eligible to receive support through the scheme. Employers will now be able to claim for furloughed employees who were on their payroll on or before this date.
In other news, HM Treasury today announced the launch of a £1.25 billion package to help protect the UK’s innovation sector and its startups and early-stage scale-ups during the pandemic.
Additional support is also available to small and medium-sized businesses (with turnover less than £45 million) through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Need some help?
Please get in touch with our HR Services team if you think we can help.
Photo Matt Seymour on Unsplash