This afternoon, the Chancellor announced that the government is going to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS or furlough scheme) until the end of March 2021.
They have acknowledged that evidence from the first lockdown showed that the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses than the duration of the restrictions.
What does the extended scheme look like?
The scheme will continue to pay up to 80% of wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 (gross) per month.
Throughout November and December, employers will not have to contribute towards wages for unworked hours, but they will be responsible for paying all pension and NI contributions associated with the 80%.
The scheme will be reviewed in January to examine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to contribute.
Will flexible furlough still be in operation?
You continue to be able to choose between full or flexible furlough, depending on your business needs.
Has eligibility changed?
No. This is the same as per our previous mailer.
Will I still be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus?
The Job Retention Bonus will no longer be available. The government have said that they will look at a suitable alternative when the time is right.
What about the Job Support Scheme?
The extended furlough scheme supersedes the JSS. At the moment, it is unclear as to whether the Job Support Scheme will run on after the extended furlough scheme has finished.
Are there any additional HR concerns?
As at the very beginning of the scheme, if you are placing anyone on furlough for the first time and you do not have lay-off or short-time working clauses in your contracts, then you will need to get each employees signed agreement to place them on furlough, as it constitutes a temporary change to their terms and conditions. For HR clients, if you need any help drafting this, please let us know.