Chancellor extends furlough scheme deadline

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the deadline for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme after it was found that many people who had recently changed jobs were set to miss out.

Under the scheme announced last month, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month.

To qualify and to protect against fraudulent claims, individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 2020.

But following a “review of the delivery system” and to ensure the scheme “helps as many people as possible”, new guidance published today has confirmed the eligibility date has been extended to March 19 2020– the day before the scheme was announced.

Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

This change means the scheme is now expected to benefit over 200,000 additional employees.

It is believed the scheme is to be fully operational by next week.

The move has been welcomed by trade body UKHospitality as it says it will help “thousands”of seasonal staff who were due to join for Easter and the summer season.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is great news for the sector and a welcome sign that the Government has listened to our concerns and those of the workforce.

“This will provide some very valuable peace of mind for employees who had missed the previous deadline, and it will give businesses some breathing-room knowing that they will be in a stronger situation once they are in a position to reopen.”

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