Just when everyone was getting to grips with the new Job Support Scheme (JSS), the Government extends the existing Furlough scheme. The extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) announced on 31 October 2020 is U.K. wide and so covers eligible employers and employees in Northern Ireland.
The key points to note are:-
- The new JSS is paused for the time being and the extended CJRS applies from 1 November 2020 until December 2020 but no specific end date has been confirmed as yet.
- Employees do not need to have been furloughed before to use the extended scheme. Also employers do not need to have previously used the CJRS. The Government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the extended CJRS. However, like with the existing CJRS, organisations can use the scheme if they are not fully funded by public grants and they should contact their sponsor department or respective administration for further guidance.
- The scheme applies to all employees submitted to HMRC via payroll on or before 30 October 2020, which means that new starters may be eligible under the scheme.
- There is no requirement for legal closure of the workplace under lockdown to claim under the extended CJRS.
- The CJRS will pay up to 80% of wages for time not worked subject to a cap of £2,500 per month.
- There will be no employer contribution to wages for hours not worked but employers are required to pay employer national insurance and employer pension contributions. It is effectively a return to the CJRS position in August 2020.
- Employers can top up employees’ wages above the CJRS grant at their own expense.
- The employer pays the employee’s usual full salary for time worked as normal.
- There is no minimum period of non-working time required and flexible furlough will continue to be an option.
- Employees employed as of 23 September 2020 and notified to the HMRC by RTI on or before that date, who have since been made redundant can be rehired and placed on the extended CJRS.
If you have already placed your employees on a JSS Agreement but you now wish to use the extended CJRS, we recommend that you contact the affected employees and ask them to agree to be furloughed until December instead.
A simple email/letter asking the affected employees to remain on furlough until December 2020 on the existing pay and hours under their previous furlough or flexible furlough agreement, and asking the employee to confirm by return email receipt and agreement, should cover the situation until further guidance is available.
For those employees not currently furloughed, they will need to enter into a written agreement recording the changes to their pay and hours under the extended CJRS.
A link to the Government’s guidance on the extended CJRS can be found here. As ever, the position set out in this note may change as the Government guidance is revised and updated.
This article does not constitute legal advice and specific advice should be sought in respect of particular cases.