Furlough extended: What is cut-off date to be eligible for COVID-19 job retention scheme?

The coronavirus job retention scheme is one of many financial relief measures Chancellor Rishi Sunak has introduced during the coronavirus outbreak. Under the scheme, an employer can furlough an employee, and the Government will pay 80 percent of the employee’s salary while they are on furlough. This is capped at £2,500 per month.

During this time, an employee will remain on their employer’s payroll.

However, they will not be able to work on behalf of the company while they are furloughed.

Under the previous terms of the coronavirus job retention scheme, employees had to be employed on February 28, 2020, to be eligible for furlough.

As of April 15, the terms of the scheme have now changed to include thousands more workers.


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What is the cut-off date for the coronavirus job retention scheme?

Originally an employee needed to have been employed by the company on February 28 to be eligible for furlough.

The Government said this criteria was implemented “to protect against fraudulent claims”.

However, the criteria has been criticised by many who say it left people who had recently started new jobs more at risk of redundancy.

The Government has recently placed the scheme under review and has published new guidance on the issue.

As of April 15 the eligibility cut-off has been extended to help more people in the current crisis.

The eligibility date is now March 19, 2020, which is the day before the scheme was announced.

Anyone who was employed on or before this date will now be eligible to claim from the coronavirus job retention scheme.


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The Government website outlines: “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 makes the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control and is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees.”

The coronavirus job retention scheme is expected to be fully operational as of next week.

Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt said: “This will help more people and is very welcome.

“Sorry it was not done sooner… [I] know how worried people will have been.

“Hope to have an update on other Treasury matters soon.”

Updated guidance for employers on the coronavirus job retention scheme is available on the Government website.

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