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Coronavirus – Job Retention Scheme – Employee Qualifying Date Changed to 19th March (rather than 28th February)

(Updated: Friday 17th April)

In the Wednesday briefing the Government announced that the eligible date for an employee to be included in the Job Retention Scheme claim has been moved to 19th March (the day before the scheme was announced).

This change means that many employees who previously didn’t qualify to be included in the scheme can now be furloughed by their employer and the employer can make a claim.

HOWEVER the scheme details require that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

The Government also announced that HMRC would have the portal up and running on Monday 20th April. Claims for small businesses are made online via the usual Government Gateway login and following the claim submission they are looking to payout from 30th April direct to the employer bank account (the aim is 6 working days after application).


  • Employers must:
    • notify their employees in writing that they are to be furloughed; AND
    • the employee must agree not to do any work for the employer during the furlough period.
  • HMRC has reserved the right to audit all claims under the scheme and employers MUST be able to provide evidence of the written notification and employee’s agreement when asked.
  • To be considered furloughed, the employees must not be working at all for the organisation, or any linked organisation, but will remain ‘on the books’. This means they must not provide services or generate revenue for or on behalf of the employer (or any connected organisation) – this applies to directors and LLP members who are employees in a PAYE scheme. 

Full details can be found at the updated (as of Friday 17th April) HMRC Guidance on the Scheme.