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COVID-19: New cut-off date for access to the CJRS

15 April: Many more employees will now be eligible for furlough under the coronavirus job retention scheme as the government has moved the payroll cut-off date to 19 March 2020.

The government has announced a major change to  the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS), moving the cut-off date from 28 February to 19 March. To qualify for the grant, the employer must now have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020.

Anita Monteith, ICAEW tax technical lead, said: “We are pleased government has listened to feedback from the business community to make changes to the furlough scheme, which means that about 200,000 people who recently changed jobs will now be protected.

“Ministers are doing a tough job in unprecedented circumstances, and they deserve credit for their readiness to extend schemes of business support to make more people and companies eligible. We hope this flexibility will continue.”

Under the change, revealed in HMRC’s fourth version of guidance on the CJRS, employers are now able to claim for furloughed employees that were on their payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 and who were notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020. 

Employees who were employed on 28 February 2020 and on payroll (ie notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and who were made redundant or stopped working for the employer after that and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if the employer re-employs them and puts them on furlough.

HM Treasury has also published the Direction which is the legislation supporting the scheme.

ICAEW Tax Faculty will be reviewing both of these and updating ICAEW's guidance on the CJRS as soon as possible.