The United Kingdom’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended by one month, replicating the furlough measures previously in place April through July.
On 31 October 2020—the day on which the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was due to end—the UK government announced a one-month extension to the scheme in conjunction with a new “stay at home” mandate starting on 5 November 2020. We recently reported on the successor scheme to the CJRS, the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which was due to come into effect on 1 November 2020. The JSS has now been postponed until at least December 2020 (pending any extension to the lockdown timeline).
The extended version of the CJRS, which originally began 20 April 2020, replicates the “furlough” measures that were in place between April and July 2020 in the United Kingdom (from August 2020, the scheme was amended by reducing the government’s contribution). It is slightly different from the original CJRS, as employees can now be furloughed on a part-time basis (this was only permitted when the government’s contribution was reduced).
Employers are entitled to top up their employees’ wages beyond the 80% figure if they wish to do so at their own expense. It is important for employers to remember that the scheme only covers hours not worked by an employee. Employers will be responsible for paying their employees for any hours worked according to the terms of their employment contract. As before, employers need to document the arrangements in writing.
It is unclear at this stage what, if any, measures the government plans to implement in order to prevents further abuse of CJRS funds. We recently reported on the government’s plans to tackle “furlough fraud,” but that was before the CJRS was extended and the JSS postponed.
The government is due to provide updated guidance for employers on making claims under the extended CJRS shortly.
All employers with a UK bank account and UK PAYE schemes are eligible for the CJRS.
All employees who have been on their employers’ PAYE payroll since no later than 30 October 2020 can qualify for the CJRS.
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