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Nearly a quarter of employees now paid via furlough scheme

The Government's furlough scheme now funds the pay of almost a quarter of UK employees, new figures show.

Around 2.5 million people were registered last week for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, bringing the total to 6.3 million. This equates to around 23% of the employed workforce.

The Government also revealed on Monday that it has received more than 1.8 million universal credit claims since 16 March 2020.

See full info on furlough in our Coronavirus Employees' Help guide.

How does the furlough scheme work?

The Government has brought in the furlough scheme – officially called the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – to help employers pay their workers during the coronavirus lockdown, even if there's no work for them to do.

Here's how it works...

  • The state pays your employer 80% of your salary, up to £2,500/month. The scheme opened to employers on Monday 20 April, with the first payments being made within six working days.

  • You need to have been on your employer's payroll on 19 March 2020. When the scheme was launched, it applied to those on their employer's payroll by 28 February 2020. However, the Treasury extended the scheme to include people who were on a company's payroll on 19 March 2020.

    However, there's a technical caveat here – it's likely you need to actually have been paid at least once by your employer by then. This is because your employer needs to have made a payroll submission about you to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020. We say it's likely you'll need to have been paid, as it's possible your company could have made a payroll notification to HMRC before the cut-off, even if your first salary payment came after. To help, Martin's done a video explaining this caveat.
  • The scheme will now run until at least the end of June 2020. Originally it was planned to cover salaries from March, April and May, but this has been extended to cover June too. This applies regardless of whether you've already been furloughed or are furloughed in the coming weeks.

  • Your employer can choose to 'top up' the Government grant. It can pay your full salary while you're furloughed – but it's not obliged to do this. And indeed, many won't have the funds to be able to do this.

You can find more details about the scheme in our Coronavirus Employees' Help guide.

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