The government furlough scheme is open for applications - this is how to apply

Monday, 20th April 2020, 11:00 am
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 11:00 am
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live on 20 April (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live on 20 April (Photo: Shutterstock)

The UK Government’s emergency pay scheme to support businesses across the UK affected by the coronavirus outbreak, is now open for applications.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live on Monday (20 Apr), enabling businesses to claim towards staff wages.

Under the scheme, employers will be able to pay their employees 80 per cent of their usual wage, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

What do I need to apply?

To make a claim through the scheme, you will need:

- to be registered for PAYE online

- your UK bank account number and sort code

- your employer PAYE scheme reference number

- the number of employees being furloughed

- each employee’s National Insurance number

- each employee’s payroll or employee number

- the start date and end date of the claim

- the full amount you’re claiming for including employer National Insurance contributions and

- employer minimum pension contributions

- your phone number

You also need to provide either:

- your Corporation Tax unique taxpayer reference

- your Self Assessment unique taxpayer reference

- your company registration number

If you are claiming for more than 100 employees on furlough, you will need to upload a file which includes the following details for each employee:

- full name

- National Insurance number

- payroll number (optional)

- furlough start date

- furlough end date (if known)

- full amount claimed

How do I make a claim?

To make a claim, you will need your Government Gateway user ID and password.

This will have been given to you when you registered for PAYE online.

Once you have these, you can make a claim via the government website.

What happens after I’ve claimed?

Once you have made a claim, you will be given a claim reference number.

HMRC will then check your claim is correct and pay the claim amount by Bacs into your bank account within six working days.

You must:

- keep a copy of the claim reference number for your records

- keep a copy of your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your claim

- tell your employees that you have made a claim and that they do not need to take any more action

- pay your employee their wages, if you have not already

You do not need to contact HMRC unless it has been more than 10 working days since you made a claim and you have not received it in that time.

If you need to contact HMRC about the scheme, you can do so online via the government website.

Who can apply for the scheme?

Any employer with a UK payroll and a UK bank account is eligible to apply for the scheme on their employees' behalf.

Employees must have been on their employer's payroll scheme and had this notified to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on or before March 19.

Those who work for businesses, charities and public authorities will be entitled to the money if their employer signs up, and they can be on any type of contract, including zero-hours or temporary.

If you were employed as of February 28 and on the payroll, but were made redundant or stopped working before March 19, you can qualify for the scheme if your employer re-hires you and puts you on furlough.

Employers can backdate claims to when employees were first furloughed, with the earliest date being March 1.

How long will the scheme last?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was originally intended to run to June 1 2020, but it has since been extended until at least the end of that month.

Can employees work while on furlough?

Your employer will need to notify you before they put you on furlough.

At this point, you should not undertake any work for your employer during this period.

Workers will remain employed while furloughed, and your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary.

If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

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