What time do furlough applications open today and when will payments start? – The Sun


THE furlough scheme kicks in at 8am today for the more than 9million workers that have been kept off work because of coronavirus.

The government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can pay employees up to £2,500 a month. Here's everything you need to know about the scheme, including how to apply.

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What is the government furlough scheme?

Simply put, if your employer is forced to close temporarily due to coronavirus, it can use an online portal to claim 80 per cent of your wages, which it will then pay to employees.

Claims are, however, capped at £2,500 per month for each employee, so if you usually earn a lot more than that you'll see a bigger drop in wages.

Payments can be backdated until March 1, 2020 and have to be for a minimum of three weeks.

Once your company has applied you won't likely see any money come in until after the end of April.

The scheme had been due to end on May 31, but the government announced on April 17 that it would be extended by a month until the end of June, 2020 and may be extended again if need be.

Your company can top up the remaining money you'd usually be paid, but most businesses are taking a serious hit and have chosen not to.

Bosses can also claim employer national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions on top.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not supposed to be used for short-term sickness and there is a three-week minimum furlough period.

Individuals originally had to be employed on or before February 28, 2020 to qualify.

But the government has extended this to everyone employed on or before March 19 – the day before the scheme was announced.

When will furlough payments be made?

Although furlough leave can be backdated to March 1, the portal employers used to register your furloughed status will not be launched until April 20.

That means you are unlikely to be paid until the system is up and running.

Some employers may choose to pay staff now and then claim the money back from the government, but they don't have to do this.

Which employees can get furlough pay?

Individuals originally had to be employed on or before February 28, 2020 to qualify for furlough.

But the government has extended this to everyone employed on or before March 19 – the day before the scheme was announced.

Employees on fixed term contracts can also be furloughed and your contracts can be renewed or extended during the furlough period.

If your contract ends because it is not extended or renewed, your employer won't be able to claim for you any more.

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If you've been placed on unpaid leave, you can still be furloughed as long as your leave started after March 19.

Employees that were employed as of February 28 and on payroll and were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that can also qualify if their employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough – but they don't have to do this.

Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and can continue to train while furloughed.

But businesses must pay apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage/National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage for all the time you spend training.

This means bosses must cover any shortfall between the 80 per cent that the scheme will pay and the minimum wage.

Who can use the government furlough scheme?

Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

Public sector employers are not expected to be using the scheme as the majority of employees are still providing essential services.

If you are receiving public funding to pay staff, you will be expected to continue using these funds and not furlough employees.

Individuals can furlough employees such as nannies provided they pay them through PAYE and they were on their payroll on, or before, March 19 2020.

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How do I claim furlough pay from the government?

To access the scheme, your employer must comply with the following:

  • Designate employees who cannot do their jobs due to the coronavirus measures put in place by the government
  • Notify those employees of their new "furloughed" status in writing, and keep communications for up to five years
  • Submit information to HMRC about furloughed employees to set up a system for reimbursement
  • You will need to work out how much you can claim through the scheme

What do I need before I can claim?

You must have:

  • created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020
  • enrolled for PAYE online which can be found via this link
  • a UK bank account

Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

You can access the website that goes live at 8am Monday April 20, here.

Can I receive furlough pay if I am on sick leave?

If you become sick while on furlough you can still be paid Statutory Sick Pay.

But in this scenario employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary.

So it is up to employers to decide whether to move these employees onto Statutory Sick Pay or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.

Can I be furloughed if I have more than one job?

If you have more than one employer then you can be furloughed for any and all of your jobs.

Each job is separate and the £2,500 cap applies to each employer specifically.

So if you are furloughed by two employers, you are eligible for government support amounting to up to £5,000 per month.

You can also continue working one job while being furloughed on another.

Can I do volunteer work or training while I am on furlough?

A furloughed worker can take part in volunteer work or training provided it does not generate revenue for their employer.

If a furloughed worker is required to complete an online training course then their employer will be required to pay them for the hours spent training.

Can I be furloughed if I am on maternity leave?

Employees on the government-mandated 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) will still have to be paid by their employer.

This covers six weeks paid at 90 per cent of weekly earnings, followed by £151.20 or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

Anything your company pays you on top of this amount can be covered by the government furlough scheme up to £2,500 per month.

Can I be furloughed if I left my job for a new job which fell through?

The government has clarified that firms can rehire and furlough old employees who left their job for a new one after February 29, which fell through due to coronavirus.

But you need to have stopped working for your employer on or after February 28, 2020, even if you're not re-employ until after March 19.

Employers can also rehire anyone who was made redundant on or after February 28.

Companies make the final decision on this and are not obliged to rehire any employees.

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