On 31 October 2020, the UK Government announced a the new national lockdown due to begin on Thursday 5 November. On the same day, the Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was due to come to an end on that day, would be extended to continue during the period of lockdown. The Job Support Scheme (JSS), which was due to come into effect on 1 November as a replacement scheme, has now been postponed until the CJRS ends.
The level of support available under the CJRS during November mirrors that which was available under the CJRS earlier in the summer. This means that employees will receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked up to a cap of £2,500. Employers will only be required to cover National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions for the employees. The extended scheme is therefore more generous for employers than the scheme was in October.
The announcement also confirmed that businesses are able to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis or to furlough them on a full time basis. Flexible furloughing is allowed under the extended CJRS, as well as full-time furloughing.
Further details, including how to claim the extended support through an updated claims service, will be issued shortly. However the press release does provide the following further information:
- Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
- Employers can claim in respect of employees who were on the employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020.
- As under the existing scheme, employers can claim the grant for the hours that their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. In addition, when claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers need to report and claim for a minimum period of seven consecutive calendar days.
- For hours not worked by the employee, the Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. This grant must be paid to the employee in full. Employers will pay employer NICs and pension contributions, and should continue to pay the employee for hours worked in the normal way.
- As under the previous CJRS, employers can choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant if they wish.
The Government will confirm when the first claims in respect of employee wage costs during November can be made.
The Government press release can be found here