Furlough – Coronavirus Job Retention and Job Support
In March 2020 the government introduced “furlough” to the UK, with the aim of providing support to businesses and employees impacted by Covid-19 under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Similar schemes were introduced to help the self-employed and a range of other measures were put in place.
Guidance on the CJRS, and the CJRS itself, evolved as challenges with the scheme were identified (such as the treatment of holidays, TUPE transfer and notice pay) and more employees were able to return to work. The support provided by the government tapered down and a “flexible furlough” option was introduced.
The CJRS was due to end on 31 October 2020 and to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – with its two variants, Job Support Scheme Open (JSS Open) for businesses experiencing reduced activity and Job Support Scheme Closed (JSS Closed) for businesses forced to close as a result of regional Tier based restrictions.
CJRS to remain open
On 31 October 2020, with the announcement of a second national lockdown, the government confirmed that the CJRS would be extended and would run through until 2 December 2020. JSS Open and JSS Closed have been postponed until the CJRS comes to an end.
The level of the grant under the extension to the CJRS will mirror the levels of support available under the CJRS in August. The government’s press release also confirms that:
- Employees will receive 80% of the current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500;
- Flexible furloughing will be allowed;
- Employers will be required to cover national insurance and pension contributions;
- Employers will be able to top up employee wages should they wish;
- There will be no gap in eligibility for support between the original 31 October 2020 end date and the start of the extension.