The government’s coronavirus furlough scheme has been extended to ensure thousands of more employees are eligible for wage subsidies.
The Treasury announced today that the eligibility date has been extended to 19 March from 28 February.
The Job Retention Scheme sees the government pay out 80 per cent of wages, up to £2,500 a month, to workers that have been furloughed because of the coronavirus.
There had been concern from some quarters that anyone who had started a new job in March would miss out, before today’s announcement closed that loophole.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed at yesterday’s daily press briefing that businesses will be able for the scheme from apply from 20 April.
The first payments are expected to roll out before the end of the month.
Commenting on today’s announcement, a Treasury spokesperson said: “Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is protecting thousands of jobs up and down the UK – with the Government covering 80 per cent of the salary of furloughed workers.
“Today we are extending eligibility to thousands more, by pushing back the cut-off date from 28 February to 19 March. This means we can support more people while keeping the significant fraud risks under control.”
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds welcomed the news on social media.
She tweeted: “I know large numbers of new starters were desperate to have clarity on this issue and I raised it directly with the Treasury.
“Other questions with the furlough scheme remain, however, and I will continue to work with government to try and get them resolved.”