Claiming for furloughed staff? Join the queue

As you may have heard on the news earlier, within 30 minutes of HM Revenue and Customs opening its portal for claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme this morning, more than 67,000 businesses had applied for help.

Looking at the responses to the GAI member survey last week, we know that 80% of respondents have furloughed some, if not all, of their staff.

So from today, you can claim online for a grant for 80% of your furloughed employees’ salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee. The scheme is open until the end of June.

The Treasury says the system can process up to 450,000 applications an hour, so you should not have to wait too long. HMRC has issued this guidance:

Before you make a claim:

  • please read all the available guidance on GOV.UK before you apply
  • gather all the information and the precise calculations you need before you start your application – if you have a payroll provider, they will be able to help you with this
  • you can find out more in the calculation guidance where you can access a claim calculator – this will allow you to check your claim for most employees who are paid the same amount each pay period
  • access HMRC's simple step-by-step guide for additional help.

After you’ve made a claim:

  • keep a note or a print-out of your claim reference number – you won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email
  • retain all records and calculations for your claims, in case HMRC needs to contact you about them
  • expect to receive the funds six working days after you apply, provided your claim matches records that HMRC holds for your PAYE scheme – please do not contact HMRC before this time
  • to receive payment by 30 April, you will need to complete an application by 22 April
  • please ask your furloughed employees not to contact HMRC directly – they will not be able to provide them with any information on individual claims.
Checks are expected to be very rigorous, and HMRC has already warned companies that they will be asked to repay the money and could face criminal action if they are caught abusing the scheme.

But we hope this financial support from the Government will make a significant difference to many GAI member companies. Good luck.