Employment Law Update – Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme

With the government’s announcement of another national lockdown came the news that the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme (CJRS), also known as the furlough scheme, will continue to be available to employers during the period of lockdown.

It is anticipated that England’s lockdown will last for four weeks starting on Thursday 5 November and ending on Wednesday 2 December. An additional period of lockdown beyond 2 December is possible, but there is no guidance on this.

The extended CJRS will be available in England during this four-week period and the level of grant available to employers will be the same as that in August, meaning the government will subsidise up to 80% of an employee’s salary (capped at £2,500 (gross) per month) and the employer will continue to be responsible for the pension and NICs contributions. Employers can, if they wish, continue to top up employees’ salary at their own expense.

Under the extended CJRS, flexible furlough will continue to be permitted so employees can work part-time and receive a grant for unworked hours.

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) which was due to come into effect from 1 November has been delayed and will not launch until after the extended CJRS ends.

If you have already made agreements with employees in respect of the JSS, you will need immediately to notify affected employees that the JSS is being delayed and ask them to continue furlough instead.

To be eligible to claim under the extended CJRS, employees must have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll at midnight on 30 October 2020. This means a Real Time Information submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30 October 2020. The eligibility criteria have therefore been widened and employees who may have not previously qualified for furlough will now be eligible.

The government is due to provide further details, including how to claim under extended support shortly.

If you have any questions or require any advice in relation to this article, please contact a member of our Employment team.

Author – Arta Obërtinca