HMRC has just published its fourth and latest update of its guidance for organisations of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. When the government announced the scheme on the 20 March 2020, it could be back dated to the 1 March 2020, but employees had to be on the payroll as of the 28 February 2020. The qualifying date has now been changed to the 19 March 2020.
There had been concerns that businesses might try to hire family, friends or ghost employees in an attempt to benefit under the scheme. Changing the date to the day before the Chancellor made the announcement is still effective to prevent fraudulent claims because details of the new scheme were not known on the 19 March 2020.
This means a large number of people who fell outside the scheme because they had recently changed jobs, and others, will now be able to be furloughed.