The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was originally due to end on 31 October 2020 and the Government had already announced a one month extension to December to coincide with the tighter Covid-19 measures in England.
On Thursday last week the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a further extension to the furlough scheme until the end of March 2021. Once again, the government will pay 80% of furloughed employees current salary for hours not worked.
The grant will be calculated by reference to employees usual hours worked in a claim period up to a maximum of £2,500. Such calculations will broadly follow the same methodology as previously under the CJRS. The £2,500 cap is proportional to the level of hours not worked.
Employers will only be required to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work.
The 80% contribution from the government and the employer contribution levels are to be reviewed in January 2021, when employers may be asked to contribute more if economic circumstances are improving.
To be eligible to claim under the extended CJRS, employees must have been on the employer’s PAYE payroll by 23.59 on 30 October 2020. This means that a real time (RTI) submission notifying HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) of payment to that employee must have made on or before that date.
There is no requirement for the employer or the employee to have previously used the CJRS in order to make a claim, and some employees previously excluded from the CRJS may now be eligible for a claim under the extended scheme.
Employees may now be eligible if:
- They had earnings for 2019/20 reported on a full payment submission (FPS) from 20 March 2020 to 19 April 2020 (19 April being the deadline for 2019/20 submissions); or
- They had earnings for 2020/21 reported on a full payment submission from 6 April 2020 to 30 October 2020.
It is also possible for employees who had a leaving date after 23 September 2020 to be reinstated if the employer so chooses.
It has also been confirmed that flexible furloughing will continue to be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
The Government is due to issue further guidance this week on the extended CJRS and we will provide updates of any further significant changes when these are available.
One of the most important differences to the scheme however is the deadline for making a claim. The November 2020 furlough claim must be processed by 14 December and each subsequent month thereafter will need to be submitted by 14th day of the following month.
Employers will be able to start making claims from 8am on Wednesday 11 November 2020, with claims able to be made in advance and in arrears for the period from 1 November 2020 to 11 November 2020.
The closing date for claims up to and including 31 October remains 30 November 2020.
The Job Support Scheme (JSS) which was due to commence from the start of November 2020 will now not be introduced until the end of the CJRS extension, if at all.
The Job Retention Bonus (JRB) which the government previously announced to encourage employers to keep staff in work until the end of January, will not now be paid in February 2021. The government will instead look at deploying a retention incentive instead at the appropriate time. The purpose of the JRB was to encourage employers to keep people in work until the end of January. However, as the CJRS is now being extended to 31 March 2021, the policy intent of the JRB no longer applies.
Our Current working arrangement – We remain ‘Open for business’
Our staff are continuing with office based working on a rota basis, each attending up to two days a week, whilst continuing to work from home at other times. They can still be contacted in the usual way either via email or by calling the office number where reception will divert your call to the appropriate staff member.
Should you have any questions regarding the extension to the scheme outlined above, require any assistance in making claims under the new measures or have any other query relating to the current situation, please speak to your usual contact at the firm.
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