Following the initial extension of the August 2020 iteration of the original Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or furlough scheme) until the end of the second national lockdown (currently due to end 2 December 2020), Rishi Sunak announced yesterday it would in fact be extended further.

The Extension

The furlough scheme has now been extended until 31 March 2021. Under the furlough scheme, up until the end of January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salaried hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month subject to the employer meeting NIC and pension obligations. This is in line with the furlough scheme which was in force during August 2020 and which is currently in force in England for November 2020.

The percentage of government/employer contribution to the salaries of employees is expected to be reviewed for February and March 2021.

Eligibility under the Extension

We expect that full guidance on the extended furlough scheme will be published on 10 November 2020 but in the meantime, it has been confirmed that employers will be eligible to agree with employees to participate in the scheme even if those employees have not previously been furloughed. Furthermore, the extended scheme will continue to be flexible, which will enable employees to work part-time, if they agree to do so.

Employees who have not been furloughed before will have a different reference period in relation to pay/hours than those who have previously been furloughed and we understand that further details of that will be released on 10 November 2020.

Those employees who were employed and on their employers payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer after this date can also be re-employed and will be eligible under the furlough scheme.

The Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus

The Job Support Scheme which was originally intended to commence on 1 November 2020, and which was subsequently delayed until 2 December 2020, has also been postponed, along with the Job Retention Bonus which was supposed to be paid out in January 2021.

Should you have any questions or require any advice in relation to the extended furlough scheme, please contact Linky Trott or any member of the Employment Team. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as the situation develops.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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