The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now up and running, with businesses able to claim up to 80% of staff wages capped at £2,500 a month per worker.
Employers can apply for direct cash grants through HMRC’s new online portal - with the money expected to land in their bank accounts within six working days.
The job retention scheme, announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a package of support to protect jobs and businesses, allows employers to claim for a cash grant of up to 80% of a furloughed employees wages, capped at £2,500 a month.
Millions of people across the UK are expected to benefit from the scheme, with businesses using it to ensure staff keep their jobs and are paid while currently being laid off during the pandemic.
HMRC’s portal has a step by step application process and up to 5,000 staff will be manning phone lines and webchat services to ensure any questions can be answered.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our unprecedented job retention scheme will protect millions of jobs across the country and is now up and running. It’s vital that our economy gets up and running again as soon as it’s safe – and this scheme will allow that to happen.”
Last week the chancellor announced the scheme will be extended for a further month until the end of June, to reflect continuing Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Adam Marshall, British Chambers of Commerce director general, said: “The opening of the Job Retention scheme is an important milestone for businesses, who can now begin to access the cash they need to pay their staff and protect livelihoods.
“The government deserves credit for the speed, scale and flexibility of its response to the challenges facing our business communities. The focus should now be on delivering this support to firms on the ground.
“Our research indicates that two-thirds of firms have furloughed some portion of their workforce. With April’s payday approaching, it is essential that the application process is smooth and that payments are made as soon as possible. Any delay would exacerbate the cash crisis many companies are facing and could threaten jobs and businesses.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “The chancellor has already shown a willingness to do whatever it takes and act at speed during unprecedented times. 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. We’ll continue working closely across government departments as thoughts turn to restarting and reviving our economy.”
Employers can furlough anyone they employ, provided that on or before March 19 they were on PAYE payroll and HMRC has been notified of payment via the RTI system.
More information about government support for businesses can be found here.
The link to the online portal can be found here.
You can share this story for free! Our website has no paywall, and all our news is free!