Here to Help: Clarifying eligibility for the Job Retention Scheme

clarifying eligibility for the job retention scheme
By Anthony Wolny | 31st March 2020 | 13 min read

An issue has been flagged recently with the government’s Job Retention Scheme, following reports that a number of workers have discovered they are not eligible for support.

The government scheme is designed to reduce the number of lay-offs during the pandemic, by subsidising the wages of workers furloughed by their employers during the current lockdown.

But as more details surface, thousands of workers that are not eligible for support say they have fallen through the gaps, as they started working for their present employer after the scheme’s published cut-off date, meaning they have been left without pay.

If you’re not familiar with the scheme or need more information, check out our blog here.

What exactly is the newly published criteria?

Last Friday, the government published updated criteria that stated workers must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 28 February 2020.

This deadline is set three weeks before the prime minister announced restrictions on public and business life.

As a result, furloughed workers who began their present employment after the cut-off date are not legally eligible to the 80% Government wage subsidy, leaving them without pay for this month and for the duration of the lockdown.

What is being done?

Those who have been missed off the support scheme have created a petition, urging the government to alter the legislation.

The new criteria in place echoes the same restriction that has been announced for the Self-Employed Support Scheme that excludes those who have only recently begun self-employment.

The government’s advice for those not included in the Self-Employment Support Scheme is to look at the available benefit system for support and the same advice will most likely apply to the Job Retention Scheme.However, as of writing this, there has not been an official statement released on the recommended actions or advice.

Here to Help

IRIS is working with HMRC, monitoring the situation for clarification and will continue to ensure that customers remain compliant with the latest legislation.

In the meantime, check out our business continuity hub for all the latest news and support regarding COVID-19.

Also, HMRC has created a Furlough Calculator to help you find out how much you can claim to cover the wages of your furloughed UK employees which you can check out here.