Job Retention Scheme: Update on employers’ access to funds

In a session of the Treasury Select Committee today (8 April 2020), HMRC has provided the following information which will be useful to employers who have furloughed, or are about to furlough, employees under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme (JRS).

  • The JRS portal, which employers must use to claim reimbursement of furloughed employees’ wages, is in the process of live testing.
  • HMRC intends to open the portal to all employers on 20 April and it is confident it is on track to do so.
  • The portal will be available 24/7 and HMRC is confident that its IT is robust enough to manage the high volume of expected applications.  At times of high demand, employers will be placed in a queuing system.
  • HMRC expects the first reimbursement payments to be made to employers by the end of April.
  • Employers can expect payments to be made into bank accounts within 4-6 days of their claim being submitted.
  • The portal will allow only 1 claim per pay period but it will facilitate both weekly and monthly pay periods.
  • If necessary, to facilitate payroll payments, employers can submit a claim 14 days in advance of paying their payroll.
  • There will be a hotline to allow instances of misuse of the JRS to be reported to HMRC.  HMRC also has plans to implement a future audit process.
  • Further guidance will be published imminently which will help employers understand the information and credentials the portal requires, with the aim of allowing employers to get the information ready in advance of the portal opening, and as many employers as possible using the portal on a self-service basis.
  • Generally, HMRC’s guidance on the JRS will be updated on a rolling basis as new queries/issues are identified.
  • HMRC does not have any information at this stage on whether the JRS will be extended post-end May (i.e beyond the 3 months originally announced by the Chancellor).