Thousands more employees now eligible for furlough as cut-off date extended

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More than 200,000 more employees will now be eligible to receive support through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme after the eligibility date was extended to March 19.

Employers can now claim for furloughed employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before March 19 – the day before the scheme was announced.

Individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 2020 to qualify for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Under the scheme, employers can claim a grant covering 80 per cent of the wages for a furloughed employee, up to £2,500 a month.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the first cash will be made available to employers to cover the wages of staff on furlough from Monday, April 20.

Speaking during Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing, the Chancellor said the “working assumption” is that his furlough payments system will open on Monday next week, with cash going out before the end of the month.

He also advised there would be several days between submitting an application and receiving the funds.

The delay between applications and money being transferred to an employee’s account is due to the necessary fraud checks that need to be carried out before the funds can be transferred to an employer and the BACS payment process.

Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt said she was sorry the changes had not been made sooner.

She tweeted: “This will help more people and is very welcome. Sorry it was not done sooner and know how worried people will have been.

“Hope to have an update on other Treasury matters soon.”

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