Furlough Scheme Extended Until End of March 2021
The Chancellor announced today, 5 November 2020, that to give the UK certainty over the winter months, the Furlough Scheme will be extended until the end of March 2021.
Under this further extended Scheme, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to the cap of £2,500 a month.
Employers will continue to only be expected to contribute NIC & Pension contributions (approximately 5% of salary).
The Chancellor has stated that he will review the position in January 2021 to consider whether the level of employer contributions should be increased.
The CRJ Bonus (that was due to be paid out in February 2021 for retaining previously furloughed employees until end of January 2021) will now fall away. Instead, the Chancellor will consider another reward mechanism to encourage employers to retain staff.
Following the Chancellor’s announcement further details were published on a HMRC Factsheet.
Further limited Guidance also published here
Additional Salient Points
Employers across the UK can claim, whether their businesses are open or closed, can use the Scheme.
- Businesses will have flexibility to use the Scheme for employees for any amount of time and shift pattern, including furloughing employees full-time.
- Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS in order to make a claim under the extended CJRS (if other eligibility criteria are met).
- Employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The £2,500 cap is proportional to the hours not worked.
- 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 provided it complies with employment law. Only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim.
- An employer can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.
- Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme was announcement) who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.
- Employees who have previously been furloughed continue to have their reference pay and hours based on the existing furlough calculations (as under the old Scheme).
- Employees who have not previously been eligible for CJRS, the alternative calculations of reference pay and usual hours must be used. Full guidance will be provided on 10 November. But brief details have been provided.
- Those fixed salary employees that have not previously been eligible for CJRS, will be entitled to 80% of their wages payable in the last pay period ending on or before 30 October 2020.
- Those employees whose pay varies that have not previously been eligible for CJRS, are entitled to 80% of the average payable between (these dates are inclusive) the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before their CJRS extension furlough periods begins.
- 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). Note shielding Guidance has been changed in England – that Guidance (which only applies to England) can be accessed here . However businesses in Northern Ireland can still choose to furlough an employee who was previously required to shield here but they are not obliged to do so.
- Employees can be furloughed if they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, including employees who need to look after children.
- HMRC will publish details of employers who make claims from December onwards under the extended Scheme. Whilst this Scheme is open to any employer (no need to be legally required to close and not required to conduct Financial Impact Test for large employers), HMRC may be using the public list to encourage those employers who do not need the Scheme not to use it.
- Claims can be made from 8am on Wednesday 11 November 2020. Claims made for November must be submitted to HMRC by no-later than 14 December 2020.
- Grants payments are anticipated 6 working days after the first claims.
- Full guidance will include further detail on how to claim and will be published on 10 November 2020.
Any Members currently in a redundancy situation must ensure that they take into account this further extension to the Furlough Scheme before confirming any redundancies. If this extension does not ‘save’ any job then the Company should document the reasons why.
You should also ensure that you reach an agreement with employees before 13 November 2020 to furlough them retrospectively back to 1 November 2020.