Posted by James Sage, Partner
Furlough Scheme extended as national lockdown announced
The Government has announced a new national lockdown for England from 5 November to 2 December which has led to significant changes to the employment support schemes available to employers.
• The Job Retention Scheme (or ‘furlough scheme’) will be extended for a month until December 2020 and will no longer close on 31 October as planned.
• Implementation of the Job Support Scheme has been delayed until the furlough scheme ends.
What we know so far
• The extended furlough scheme is available from 1 November and will be open until December. The exact date has not yet been specified but it is likely to align with the end of the lockdown on 2 December.
• The level of support under the furlough scheme increases to its original level of 80% of wages (up to a cap of £2,500 per month). You may top up pay if you wish.
• Employers are responsible for National Insurance contributions and pension contributions.
• Flexible and full-time furlough is permitted so staff can either work part time or not at all, depending on business requirements.
• Neither you nor your employee need to have previously used the furlough scheme to be eligible now.
• Employees will be eligible if they were on your payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020.
• The Treasury has re-iterated that it expects publicly funded organisations not to use the scheme, but says that partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted.
Key steps to take now
• Communicate with staff who have already agreed to move onto the Job Support Scheme and get their written agreement to remain on the furlough scheme.
• Assess whether staff who have not previously been furloughed are eligible for furlough under the extended scheme.
• Consider whether you wish to retain staff already working under notice of redundancy during the extended furlough period and whether you are eligible to do so.
Our Employment & HR team will keep updating you on further detailed guidance from Government as it is published.
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