Businesses have until midnight tonight to apply for first round of Government coronavirus funding

North East businesses have been warned they only have until midnight to apply for the first round of funding from the Government’s coronavirus job support scheme.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 7:00 am

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is intended to allow businesses to put staff on furlough for the duration of the crisis in order to protect their jobs, rather than having to make them redundant.

It allows firm to claim up to 80% of an employee’s wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

The scheme was officially launched at 8am on Monday, April 20, and within its first 16 hours had received 185,000 claims, covering 1,300,000 employees at a value of £1.5billion.

Nissan announced at the beginning of the month that it was placing staff at its Sunderland plant on furlough

Employers still need to pay National Insurance and pension contributions on behalf of furloughed employees, but can claim for these too.

The scheme does not cover additional National Insurance or pension contributions to top up your employee’s wages or any pension contributions above the mandatory employer contribution.

Employers can choose to top up employees’ wages, but do not have to. Employees must not work or provide any services for the business while furloughed, even if they receive a top-up wage.

Businesses will need to check if they are eligible for the scheme by visiting

Claims should be started from the date that the employee finishes work and starts furlough, not when the decision is made, or when they are written to confirming their furloughed status.

This temporary scheme is initially in place for four months starting from March 1, but it may be extended if necessary and employers can use the scheme anytime during this period.

The Government announced at the ed of last week that it was extending the lockdown for at least another three weeks.

A Government spokesman said: “For employers to get their payments by April 30, they need to make a claim by midnight on Wednesday, April 22, as it takes six working days to process claims.

“Further guidance is available and there is an easy to use, step-by-step guide that takes you through the process.”

A seven-page document offering step-by-step guidance on how to apply can be downloaded from

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