This morning we have had the first report from HMRC on the operation of the furlough scheme. It is in the form of a tweet. It reports that 185,000 claims have been submitted covering 1,300,000 employees. So a lot of employees are benefitting from the Scheme. A lot of employers are, also doubtless, making plans for what happens when the Furlough Scheme ends, which is currently scheduled for 30 June 2020. We are hearing anecdotally that staff who were recently rehired to be furloughed, in line with the scheme, are often being disqualified by HMRC at the application stage, if the applicable March payroll date for the employer is after 19 March 2020. The requirement that employees were on payroll by 19 March catches out staff who joined after the February payroll run for the employer. In some cases such staff would originally have qualified if they had joined after that February payroll, but before 28 February (the old cut-off date). There is a lot of adverse comment around about the arbitrary nature of the date of 19 March and punishing employers and their employees if the payroll run is after the 19th of the month, so it will be interesting to see if this changes.

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