Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal opens

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said "today, we deliver our promise".
WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/PA Images

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal opened this morning (20 April), allowing businesses to claim support for furloughed employees to cover up to 80% of their salary.

HMRC chief executive Jim Harra said that employers claimed for 67,000 jobs within the first 30 minutes of it going live.

The portal, which can be accessed via HMRC’s Government Gateway, opened at 5.30am. There have been some reports of the site crashing or timing out but many users also reported the system running smoothly, provided they had all of the required information to hand.

According to the Treasury, the system can process up to 450,000 applications an hour and employers should receive payments within six working days of making an application.

HMRC has produced a guide for employers on how to calculate 80% of an employee’s salary – they can’t, for example, claim for additional National Insurance or pension contributions that top up salary packages, or any pension contributions that are above the mandatory employer contribution.

Employers can top up the government grant to cover the whole of someone’s salary but this is not mandatory.

Those who need to put more than 100 employees on furlough can upload a file containing employees’ National Insurance numbers, PAYE details and furlough dates. Those with fewer need to upload employees’ details individually.

Announcing the opening of the scheme on Twitter, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Exactly one month ago today I announced the unprecedented decision to step in and help pay people’s wages.

“We promised support would be available by the end of April – today, we deliver our promise.”

The minimum amount of time an employee can be furloughed for is three weeks. Last week, the government changed the cut-off date so that employees who were on PAYE on or before 19 March 2020, rather than 28 February, would be eligible for the scheme.

However, claims that this would help thousands of employees who started new jobs in March were criticised, as the scheme requires those employees to be on their organisation’s Real Time Information (RTI) submission to qualify. Because employers only tend to submit one RTI per month, many would still miss out on the furlough scheme.

On Friday it was announced that the scheme, initially opened for three months from 1 March, would be extended until the end of June. This followed the government’s announcement that lockdown would continue for at least another three weeks.

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, welcomed the launch of the scheme.

She said: “Rolling out the job retention scheme will make a huge difference to tens of thousands of firms and millions of people, protecting jobs and living standards throughout the UK. Ensuring support gets to where it’s needed most – fast – is of the utmost importance.”

4 Responses to Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal opens

  1. Avatar
    Deborah Moffat 22 Apr 2020 at 9:49 am #

    I started my job 10th march should i get this

  2. Avatar
    John 22 Apr 2020 at 12:20 pm #

    Only if you are on a weekly payroll, if monthly your employer would not have submitted your RTI in time.

  3. Avatar
    kirti sheth. 23 Apr 2020 at 5:22 pm #

    NHS send me letter to stay home for 12 weeks, due to my underlying health condition to shielding. HMRC told in its web site I am entitled furlough can be applied, my employer email me because my job is open and other security officer working on my site they will not put me on furlough my working service 14 years. I email that I want to work but due to my underlying health condition and NHS send me letter for isolated is it fair they supposed to put me furlough even my site open. What is your opinion?

  4. Avatar
    Anett 12 May 2020 at 8:00 pm #

    I need some help. In 27/11/2019 I started to work for Simple Recruitment Services. I had a 0 hour contact. My last working day was 16/03/2020. After I cant contact with my agent(Jay)He don’t pick up the phone and don’t answer my messages.Last week Thursday  I got a phone call from the agent((JAy) and he said I eligible for furlough payment and I will get 900£.I got a payslip .Next day I got this message ://
    I understand you have been sent a pay slip for your furlough payments. 
    Please note this payment unfortunately will not be made today. 
    The payslips have been produced in order for us to submit the claim to the goverment for your furlough payments. 
    Some of these may need to be recalculated as their may have been some discrepancies.
    I understand this is not the best news and I can only apologise that these payslips was sent out prematurely.
    The goverment guidelines are saying that once the claim is approved they aim to pay this in 6 working days.//

     I got a message Wednesday that I can start working on Friday, I replied to the agent that i would like to work on an other department of the company because i know the department where they want me now it will move quiet far away. Than i asked what about the furlough. Can I get or not.He replied the following massage ://  
    In this case, not. The furlough payment is for retaining staff. If you have no intention  on returning then the scheme is not available to you. //
    Than I replied to the agent (Jay)that i can start on Friday. I got a call Thursday after that  from an other agent (Karol)from this Agency . He said:Than you  can start to Friday,I said :Okay that’s good but I don’t want work with another agent (Jay) because he always ignored me , I would like work with you (Karol). He said:okay no problem. 
    2 minutes later i got a following message from Jay:// There is no work available now through SRS. You will recieve your p45 shortly .You do not need to go to work anymore // 
    After that  no one picked up to phone. 

    I just want to know if i would be legally eligible for this money(furlough payment)and if yes, where can I get help?

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