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“Unprecedented” wage subsidies package revealed

The government will subsidise 80 percent of workers’ wages up to £2,500 per month, as part of efforts to preserve jobs across the country as the UK seeks to curb the economic impact of the coronavirus.

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Payroll professionals are classified as key workers
Payroll professionals are classified as key workers

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an “unprecedented” move that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would be in place for an initial three months and would be extended as needed. The scheme applies to payroll from March 1, 2020.

 

Employees who were on organisations’ payroll on February 28 can be covered, even if they’ve since been let go.

 

All UK businesses are eligible and can access the scheme as follows:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation;
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required).

HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for this reimbursement, as current systems do not facilitate payments to employers.

 

Payroll professionals classified as key workers

Following this announcement, The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP) confirmed, with the Department for Education, that payroll professionals are key workers.

 

The advice provided was that payroll roles would fit squarely within the category of “utilities, communications and financial services”, and there was no doubt that a payroller would be deemed a key worker.

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