Business

Employers able to access furlough scheme from next week – HMRC

Shaun Connolly, PA Political Correspondent

Employers should be able to access the coronavirus furlough pay initiative from next week, the head of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has said.

The scheme sees the Government pay 80% of the wages for furloughed staff up to a cap of £2,500 a month.

Jim Harra, chief executive of HMRC, told the BBC: “We have already implemented the new system and tested it with a small number of employers.

“All employers should be able to access the scheme from next Monday.

“They will be able to go online then and make their claims. And that gives them time to receive their grants in time for paying wages to furloughed staff before the last banking day of the month.”

Mr Harra added: “Any employer who has a pay as you earn scheme will be able to make a claim if they have furloughed an employee

“I am very confident that the system will be available from Monday the 20th, and that there will be time for employers to make their claims and receive payment.

“Most employers run their payroll on the last banking day of the month, which would be the 30th, and there is time to get your claims in in time and get money before then.

“I think in all of these schemes designed to help the economy, we have had to design them so they can be implemented very quickly and time, in some sense, has been the enemy of perfection.

“I’m confident that the vast majority of employees who have been furloughed will get help.”

Asked about whether the initiative would be extended, Mr Harra continued: “The whole purpose of this scheme is to prevent unnecessary redundancies and keep people on the payroll, because that will help the economy to bounce back once the restrictions have been lifted.

“The Government has said that this scheme will be available for furloughs from the first of March until the 30th of May, but the Chancellor has been clear that if it needs to be extended, then he will look to do that. And, I’m sure that that is something he is monitoring and keeping under review.”

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