18 November 2020 | News

Extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

In early November Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant.  The announcement was made ahead of the Prime Minister’s statement confirming that he would be bringing in a second national lock-down in an attempt to curtail the spread of COVID-19 as we head into the 2020 ‘flu season.

Both the CJRS and SEISS initiatives remain largely unchanged from the original schemes, but with a few differences that employers should be aware of.  Both schemes will run until March 2021, when the now-postponed Job Support Scheme will be introduced.

During the period of November to January, the government will provide grants of up to 80%, or £2,500pm, for hours not worked.  It is anticipated that this will be reviewed in the New Year, with the possibility that employers will be asked to contribute a proportion of furloughed workers’ salaries and wages.

Changes that came in to effect on 1 July allowed employers to part-furlough employees, allowing them to work part-time hours while receiving a salary or wages top-up of up to 80% of the proportion of hours not worked.  A furloughed employee retains their employment rights, including SSP, annual leave, and maternity/paternity leave.  It may also be possible for employers to take further advantage of the CJRS to offer furloughed employees job-related training.

Self-employed people will be able to make a claim for SEISS under the extended grant scheme at the end of November. This will be paid in two parts, each covering three month periods.  The terms for applying for this grant are unchanged, and will keep their status as taxable income and will be subject National Insurance contributions.

Furlough on a national scale is an unusual occurrence here in Great Britain, and few people carry the experience required to navigate complex legal issues that it can involve.  Aughton Ainsworth has an established history in helping employers and employees with difficult and stressful situations that can arise.

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