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Further Extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On Thursday 5 November, it was annouced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would be extended until 31 March 2021.

For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual pay for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

This scheme is therefore more generous than the scheme that was running in September and October. The government will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.

Full guidance is due to be published next week on 10 November 2020. However, below is some of the information from the HMRC Policy Paper :

  • employers can claim even if they, or the relevant employees, had not previously used the CJRS.

  • ‚Äčthe furlough will continue to be flexible, i.e. employees can continue to do some work.

  • 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 furloughed will have a different pay/hours reference period. Full guidance will be provided on 10 November, but broadly the pay is based on 80% of the wages payable in the last pay period ending on or before 30 October 2020 (for those on fixed wages), or 80% of the average payable between the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before their CJRS extension furlough periods begins (for those on variable wages).

  • 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). That does not, of course, mean they have to be furloughed.

  • employees can also be furloughed where they are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, including employees that need to look after children. Again, that does not mean they have to be furloughed.

  • employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer after that date can be re-employed and claimed for.

  • where consistent with employment law, 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 as long as it is made according to the conditions detailed in the policy paper. Only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including the 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a CJRS claim.

  • the Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus have been put on hold (for now).

If you want to make sure you’re up to date, or need further clarity, please do not hesitate to contact the Alcumus PSM HR team for assistance via email psm.enquiries@alcumusgroup.com or call us on 01484 439930.

Alcumus PSM (People & Safety Management) specialises in human resources (HR) and health and safety (H&S) consulting for small and medium-sized enterprises.