On the morning of 20 April 2020, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme portal went live.
The portal allows businesses to submit information in respect of their furloughed employees in order to recover 80% of a furloughed employee’s wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month (plus employer NI and pension contributions).
In addition to activating the portal, the government has produced a number of additional resources to assist with claims and calculations:
- Guidance regarding how to make a claim:
- Step by step guide for employers:
- Calculation guidance:
Before making a claim, it is important to note:
- employers should not start a claim until they have gathered all of the required information as set out in the guidance regarding how to make a claim;
- the application needs to be completed in one session – currently there is no save and return option and sessions will time out after 30 minutes of inactivity;
- it is only possible to submit one claim per claim period and this must cover all employees that are being claimed for;
- it is only possible to submit one claim every three weeks;
- whilst it is possible to make a claim in anticipation of an imminent payroll run (so to apply now for May and June), it is advised that employers make their claim shortly before running payroll as changes to the claim cannot be made once it has already been submitted;
- grants are expected to reach bank accounts within 6 working days of application and so employers are advised to input their claim at least 6 working days in advance of their payroll run;
- once a claim has been submitted, employers are advised to print the confirmation screen or note down the claim reference number – there will not be a confirmation email.
How has the portal been received?
HMRC reported this morning that 185,000 companies have already submitted applications on the portal, amounting to claims for approximately 1,300,000 workers and £1.5bn.
The system is said to be capable of processing 450,000 applications per hour. At the time of writing, no significant technical problems have been reported and the portal seems to be running relatively smoothly. Once logged in, we understand the application takes a few minutes to fill out, but this will vary depending on the number of furloughed employees the employer is claiming for.
The success of the portal will depend on whether the first payments start reaching employers’ accounts from early next week, in order to help protect jobs and businesses during this critical time.