Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal to launch on 20 April

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal to launch on 20 April
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Wed 8th Apr 2020

_The application system for the new scheme that allows employers to claim a grant for 80% of employee wages will launch on 20 April.

*** UPDATE: The online service is now live here. Read guidance on making a claim here ***_

Jim Harra, chief executive and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), today confirmed the date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme website during a meeting of the Treasury Committee.

He said the first payments through the system will be made by 30 April.

Harra revealed that the portal is being tested by a small group of employers today and that the government is "confident it will be able to cope with the very large number of claims we expect to receive". It has been tested up to a volume of 450,000 claims an hour, he said.

In a separate note sent to accountants and other advisers, HMRC said: "At this point we would welcome you contacting your clients and offering yourselves as vital support during this process, either directly, if authorised, or indirectly if you are a file only agent.

"We are expecting phone demand to be beyond our capacity to offer a normal service. Therefore, the service is designed to be self-serve with guidance in place. Again, your support in helping us achieve this is called on."

Through the Job Retention Scheme, employers must furlough their staff by putting them on temporary leave for a minimum of three weeks. The government will then refund 80% of salaries up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

The government has confirmed that limited company directors can use the scheme but the grants will be based on PAYE salaries rather than dividends.

HMRC has released guidance and Harra said more guidance will be released soon including support that allows as many employers as possible to use the system without help.

According to the Resolution Foundation, more than nine million workers will be furloughed through the scheme with the cost to the taxpayer estimated at £30  -40bn.

The latest coronavirus support information

We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.

We want to ensure small businesses have access to advice during this challenging time, so we are offering three months free Enterprise Nation membership. Benefits include connections with experts for free consultations. Use code COVID19ENFREE at checkout.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.