To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of backdating Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme support payments for workers who continued to work part-time at the start of covid-19 outbreak and were ineligible for the original operation of that scheme but who are now eligible for that scheme through flexible furlough.
25 November 2020
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been delivered at an unprecedented pace and is protecting thousands of jobs up and down the UK, with 1.2 million employers applying to help to pay the wages of 9.6 million furloughed jobs.
In light of recent developments in the path of the virus, the CJRS has been extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. People employed and on payroll on 30 October will be eligible, and neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under the CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS, if other eligibility criteria are met. Furthermore, businesses will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time and shift pattern, including furloughing them part-time. By having the eligibility cut-off date the day before the announcement, this addresses the risk of abuse while also ensuring that there is no gap in support.
The scheme is designed to help those who otherwise would have been made unemployed and to provide support to businesses as quickly as possible. Allowing backdated payments to people working part-time since March is not consistent with the objectives of the scheme, would require more process and substantially increase the risk of fraud.