Last reviewed 12 May 2020

Please note that on 12 May 2020, it was announced that the Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of October. From August, the Scheme is likely to run slightly differently to allow the sharing of wage costs between the employer and the Government where employees are brought back to work on a part-time basis.

The CJRS will allow employers to claim 80% of the wages of staff (up to a maximum of £2500 per employee) that they have furloughed (put on temporary leave) (see Employers’ Guide to COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme). This is going to be in place until the end of July, from which point it is currently expected that the 80% payment to employees will remain in place but will need to be funded, in part, by the employer where the employee returns on a part-time basis.

Elsewhere, HMRC has suggested that as many as 5500 staff will be available to answer queries, although they will not be able to authorise payments. This should enable the system to handle 450,000 users per hour.

Addressing tax agents, the HMRC note said that businesses, and agents that are authorised to act on behalf of clients for PAYE matters, will be able to claim. However, file only agents, including Payroll Bureaus, will not be able access the service because of data protection reasons.

Once a claim has been made, HMRC will pay the claim amount by Bacs into your bank account within 6 working days.

Warning of the problems ahead, Mr Harra told the Select Committee: “We are going to be paying a vast amount of money in a very short period and any scheme like this is a target for organised crime.”

The portal is accessible via https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.