The Government says 200,000 more employees are to benefit from its Covid-19 Job Retention Scheme after the cut off date was extended until March 19.
The Treasury announced on Wednesday afternoon that the scheme will now be fully operational from next week, after the date was moved from February 28.
It comes after thousands of people who moved jobs since then found themselves in a difficult position – with new employers unable to claim cash and old ones often unwilling to re-employ them, even though they could at no cost to themselves.
The move means employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month for those who were hired on or before March 19.
The change comes following what the Government called a review of the delivery system – and a decision to “ensure the scheme helps as many people as possible”.
A statement on the Treasury’s website said: “HMRC have been working at pace to delivering the scheme, which is due to be fully operational next week.
“The CJRS is part of an unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor to protect individuals and businesses.
“This includes significant support for the self employed and immediate steps to give businesses access to cash to pay its rent, salaries or suppliers.”