Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Furlough

Following the announcement of lockdown 2.0, it was stated that the Job Retention Scheme would be extended from 1st November 2020 to 31st March 2021, with the conditions of the scheme set to be reviewed in January 2021. The eligible employers and employees do not need to have benefitted from the scheme before in order to qualify for it this time round. The government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2500 a month. As before, employers are required to pay their National Insurance and employer pension contributions.

If the decision is made to furlough employees, employers are obligated to confirm in writing to employees that they are being furloughed, even if the employer is topping up from 80% to 100% pay. Furthermore, a written record of this must be kept for five years. Regarding employees who have previously been furloughed, employers need to communicate that the arrangement has been extended. Employers are able to claim for employees who were employed on 30th October 2020, as long as they have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between the 20th March 2020 and 30th October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

From 1st December, notice periods will not be covered by furlough, this may affect the restructuring decisions for employers and the timescales on this. Furthermore, the Job Retention Bonus of £1000 per employee is no longer available, and we are awaiting further guidance as to whether anything will replace this or not.