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Furlough Scheme Extended and Job Support Scheme Delayed

The Government announced over the weekend that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which enables employers to place staff on furlough leave, is to be extended until December, with the Job Support Scheme (JSS) to be delayed.

As per our recent updates, the JSS was due to start on 1 November and run for a period of 6 months. The start of the JSS has now been delayed until the CJRS ends, which is anticipated to be in early December, although the date has not been confirmed, and a further extension may be a possibility. The announcement was made in light of the further national “lockdown” period due to start this Thursday 5 November.

This news may be welcomed by employers impacted by the ongoing pandemic or pending restrictions, but any arrangements made with employees in recent weeks to place them on the JSS, will now need to be revised in light of the Government’s announced changes.  Employers should seek to agree revised changes to employees’ terms and conditions if they wish to continue them on furlough leave under the extended CJRS, instead of place them on the JSS.

The following key points apply to the extended CJRS:-

  • The Government will cover 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 for hours not worked by the employee, with the employer paying normal pension and National Insurance Contributions.
  • Employers do not need to have made a claim under the earlier CRJS.
  • Claims can be made for employees that were on the PAYE payroll at 23:59 on 30 October 2020.
  • As under the current CJRS, flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.
  • Businesses will continue to be able to claim in advance to cover wages costs, but it is reported there will be a short period when the scheme and system is updated and businesses will be paid in arrears for that period. The Government is to confirm when claims can first be made in respect of employee wages for November, but confirms there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension.

Further guidance is expected from the Government, in the meantime employers should be seeking to agree and document appropriate changes to employee terms and conditions to reflect any new arrangements following this extension to the CRJS.

The team at Collingwood Legal are all working as normal and we continue to advise employers managing this challenging and developing situation.  We will provide further updates as soon as further information becomes available.

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