On Saturday 31st October 2020 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown for England in a bid to stop the continued spread of coronavirus and protect the NHS. While making that announcement he added that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) would be extended for the month of November.
As part of the governments winter economy plan, the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in September that Furlough would be ending on Saturday 31st October 2020 and would be replaced with the Job Support Scheme which would start on Sunday 1st November 2020. Following the Prime Ministers announcement on Saturday evening this plan has now changed. In a twist of events during his live announcement on Saturday evening Boris Johnson announced that coinciding with a second national lockdown for England that the Furlough scheme would be extended for the month of November. This offers people and businesses across the UK a further lifeline as we continue to make our way through the complicated coronavirus pandemic. This announcement means that the Job Support Scheme that should have replaced Furlough has been postponed for now.
This new and extended version of Furlough is more generous than what was offered in the latter months of the scheme being in place with it returning to paying 80% of an employee’s current salary. This will hopefully take some pressure off employers and allow employees to continue in some form of employment. More details on the extended scheme will be made available over the course of the next week however what we do know to date is that:
- Furlough can be full time or flexible. Employers would be expected to pay their employees for any hours they work
- Employers must continue to cover National Insurance and any pension contributions for their employees
- Businesses can make use of the extension even if they haven’t used the scheme previously
- Employees must have been on the employer’s PAYE Real Time Information system by 23.59 hours on Friday 30th October 2020
- The reporting and claim period is for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days
Albeit this was a very last-minute change the hope is that the extension will save many people from being made redundant who have previously been on Furlough but would not have been considered for the Job Support Scheme. Agreements will once again need to be reached between employer and employee and a decision made on whether Furlough will be full or flexible however when these arrangements have been made it is expected that implementation should be straightforward as conditions are very similar to those put in place in March of this year.
The source of the information in this article came from GOV.UK and their news story titled “Furlough Scheme Extended and Further Economic Support announced”