Furlough scheme cut-off date extended to 19 March

A number of constituents have been in touch with us to express concern about the previous eligibility date to qualify for furlough under the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We shared those concerns with Ministers and the eligibility date has now been extended to 19 March 2020. We paste below the government's full announcement. 

This is a significant change which will now ensure that anyone whose employer submitted payment information to HMRC by 19 March will be covered. The Treasury team estimate that this change will help an additional 200 000 people. However they accept that not everyone will be covered as there must remain a cut-off to allow the scheme to be delivered. 

There is also now new guidance from HMRC on the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) - please visit their website for further information. The important thing to note:- if you have not submitted your Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19, you must do this by 23 April 2020 or you will not be able to claim under the SEISS. HMRC will aim to contact you by mid-May 2020 if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to claim using the gov.uk online service. If you are unable to claim online an alternative way to claim will be available. Their page will be updated with more information soon.

Furlough scheme cut-off date extended to 19 March - gov.uk press release

Thousands more employees will able to receive support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) after the eligibility date was extended to 19 March 2020, the government announced today.


  • eligibility cut-off date for Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended to 19 March 2020
  • the change will mean thousands more workers can be furloughed
  • scheme expected to be fully operational next week

Under the scheme announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month.

To qualify and to protect against fraudulent claims, individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 2020.

But following a review of the delivery system and to ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible, new guidance published today has confirmed the eligibility date has been extended to March 19 2020– the day before the scheme was announced.

Employers can claim for furloughed employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means that the employee must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

This change makes the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control and is expected to benefit over 200,000 employees.

HMRC have been working at pace to delivering the scheme, which is due to be fully operational next week.

The CJRS is part of an unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor to protect individuals and businesses.

This includes significant support for the self employed and immediate steps to give businesses access to cash to pay its rent, salaries or suppliers.

If any employer now thinks they are eligible for support, they can find out more here.