The scheme, which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month (Friday 20 March), means employers can claim a grant covering 80% of furloughed employees’ wages, up to £2,500, and is expected to be fully operational next week (20 April) via an online portal.
This temporary scheme is open to all UK employers for at least three months, starting from 1 March 2020.
Delivery system review
Originally, to qualify and help prevent fraudulent claims, workers had to be employed on 28 February.
However, following a review of the delivery system and to ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible, new guidance confirmed the eligibility date had been extended to 19 March – the day before the scheme was announced.
Businesses can claim for furloughed workers that were employed and on the PAYE payroll on or before 19 March.
This means the employee must have been notified to HMRC through a real time information (RTI) submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March.
The Government estimated this change is expected to benefit more than 200,000 employees, while keeping fraud risks under control.
UKHospitality welcomed the extension, outlining how the scheme had previously excluded those offered jobs but who had not joined their new employer as well as thousands of seasonal staff who were due to join for Easter and summer.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is great news for the sector and a welcome sign 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 they will be in a stronger situation once they are in a position to reopen.”