London, April 20 (IANS) A UK government pay scheme to keep staff on the payroll despite not working due to the coronavirus pandemic went live on Monday.
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the government will cover 80 per cent of workers’ wages, up to 2,500 pounds a month, if they were put on leave, the BBC reported.
Millions of workers are expected to be “furloughed” because of the lockdown.
Taking of Twitter on Monday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We promised support would be available by the end of April – today, we deliver our promise.”
The Treasury has said that the system can process up to 450,000 applications an hour.
Employers should receive the money within six working days of making an application, it added.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Chief Executive Jim Harra told the BBC that 67,000 claims from employers had been made in the first 30 minutes.
“The big payroll date this month is on the 30th, so employers can claim anytime today, tomorrow or on Wednesday, and there’s time to get that money into their account for the 30th of April,” Harra said.
On April 17, Sunak had announced that the wage subsidy scheme would be extended by a further month, until the end of June.
The move came after the government confirmed that lockdown restrictions in the UK would continue for “at least” another three weeks.
As of Monday, the UK reported 121,173 coronavirus cases with 16,095 deaths.