Coronavirus (COVID-19): Government measures to protect jobs and incomes

On 20 March 2020, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced details of a package of measure to protect jobs and incomes against the negative economic impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Government is implementing a “Coronavirus job-retention scheme” under which it will help to pay staff wages.  According to the Chancellor’s announcement –

  • All employers will be eligible to access the scheme
  • Employers should contact HMRC to apply for a grant
  • Grants will be paid to cover the wages of individuals placed on furlough but not “laid off” (by which we assume the Chancellor means not made redundant) and kept on the payroll as a result of the Coronavirus crisis
  • The Government funding will cover 80% of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of £ 2,500 per person per month
  • The scheme will be backdated to cover wages from 1 March 2020
  • The scheme will remain open for an initial 3 months at which point it will be reviewed.
  • HMRC expect to be able to pay out the first grants within a matter of weeks.

The Chancellor has urged business to look at the support available under this scheme before making any decisions to make staff redundant.

At this stage, full details of the scheme are not available including in relation to the crucial aspects of which businesses and which employees will be covered.  We will provide further detail as soon as it is available.