Covid-19, Employment Law

Furlough Scheme Extended until 31 March 2021

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Furlough Scheme Extended until 31 March 2021

In the latest twist, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will now remain open until 31 March 2021 instead of until the end of the current national lockdown period.
Full guidance is due to be published on 10th November 2020 however the government has published a Policy Paper that contains everything we know about the extended scheme to date (click here to read).
Headline and notable points include:

  • The Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus have both been put on hold
  • Employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for any claims made up to January 2021. Employers do not need to contribute but they can choose to top up and the percentage contribution is likely to be reviewed for February and March.
  • Employers can claim even if they, or the relevant employees have not previously used the CJRS.
  • Employers can claim whether their business is open or closed
  • Flexible furlough will still be operational
  • Employees still need to consent to furlough and a written agreement between employer and employee will be required
  • Where consistent with employment law, any flexible furlough or furlough agreement made retrospectively that has effect from 1 November 2020 will be valid for the purposes of a CJRS claim as long as it is made according to the rules of the CJRS. Only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim.
  • When on furlough, employees cannot do any work for their employer but they can: take part in training; volunteer for another employer or organisation or, work for another employer (if contractually allowed)
  • Employees who have previously been furloughed continue to have their reference pay and hours based on the existing furlough calculations. Employees who have not previously been furloughed will have a different pay/hours reference period. Full guidance will be provided on 10 November, but in very general terms, the pay is based on 80% of the wages payable in the last pay period ending on or before 30 October 2020 (for those on fixed wages), or 80% of the average payable between the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before their CJRS extension furlough periods begins (for those on variable wages).
  • Employees can be furloughed if they are shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay at home with someone who is shielding). Employers do not have to furlough employees in these categories: furlough is not an obligation (or an entitlement).
  • Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer after that date can be re-employed and claimed for.

As soon as we have more information we will provide further update but in the meantime, why not book onto our next free webinar session with Charlotte and Sarah who will be running a live Q&A session on all things furlough! The event is being held on Wednesday 18th November, we are running a morning and afternoon slot. To book a place please select the session you wish to attend: 10am or 2.30pm and fill in your details.
If you previously registered for the “Job Support Scheme” webinar, you do not need to register. We will automatically move your booking to the same time.

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