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16th October 2020

Government extends the furlough scheme from 1 November as second lockdown announced

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On 31 October the government announced that England would be entering a second period of lockdown due to begin on 5 November and end on 2 December.  In order to support businesses and their staff across the UK during this time, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is to be extended from 1 November through to December.

The CJRS had been due to come to an end on 31 October, with the Job Support Scheme (JSS) starting on 1 November.  The JSS has therefore been delayed until after the end of the extended CJRS.

This is what we know so far about the extended CJRS from the Treasury announcement:

  • The extended CJRS will be in place from 1 November to December, with no formal end date yet published.

  • Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.  The scheme is available in respect of employees who were on the employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020.

  • The level of support and flexibility available under the extended scheme mirrors that which was available under the CJRS in August:

    • the government will pay 80% of employees’ normal pay for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500.

    • employers will pay employer NICs and pension contributions.

    • employers can claim the grant for the hours that their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. The methodology for these calculations will broadly follow those under the CJRS.

    • flexible furlough is allowed, as well as full-time furlough.

    • employers should continue to pay employees for hours worked, and the tax and NICs due on those amounts, in the normal way.

  • When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers need to report and claim for a minimum period of seven consecutive calendar days.

  • As previously under the CJRS, employers can choose to top up employees’ wages above the grant if they wish.

  • There will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and the extended CJRS, and the government will confirm when claims can be made in respect of employee wages costs during November.

The government has said it will issue further details and guidance shortly including when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November. 

Please get in touch with a member of the employment team for advice if you are considering furloughing employees again or for the first time.