Rushanara Ali MP calls for urgent action to help workers left out of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On 15 April 2020, the Government changed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by extending the eligibility date to 19 March 2020, which means that anyone reported on payroll by 19 March is now eligible to be furloughed. However, the Government also announced that employers have to have logged RTI submissions with HMRC and added employees to payroll by this date, a practice that commonly falls to the end of each month.

On Tuesday 21 April at the Treasury Select Committee, MPs on the committee put questions regarding the gaps in the Government’s support measures to Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality and Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at the Association of Independent Professionals & Self-Employed (IPSE).

Rushanara Ali MP highlighted the hundreds of thousands of people who are still not meeting the requirements to receive 80% of their salary under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as they moved to new PAYE employment after 28 February 2020, and were added to payroll after the 19 March. The answers to Rushanara’s questions revealed that between 350,000 and 500,000 people in the hospitality industry alone may not be eligible for the scheme. There are many more in other sectors too. 

Speaking after the committee, Rushanara Ali MP said:

“While the extension of the eligibility date for furlough is welcome, certain new requirements and loopholes that come with the changes mean that many people are still being left behind. It is common practice for employers to notify HMRC through RTI submissions and pay employers at the end of each month, which falls after the new cut-off date for furloughing. I am calling on the Chancellor to urgently address these technicalities to ensure that this hugely important policy is successful in helping our country’s workforce through this crisis.” 

Read more about Rushanara’s questions in the Independent by clicking here. 

Recent updates on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • On Friday 17 April, the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the government’s furlough scheme) would now be open until the end of June, a one-month extension to the original announcement of support.
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live on Monday 20 April, 10 days ahead of schedule. Employers can apply for direct cash grants through HMRC’s new online portal with the money expected to be deposited in their bank accounts within six working days.


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