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Extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

The CJRS has been extended for a month with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. Key points of the government’s announcement about the Extended Furlough Scheme are:

  • The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.
  • The Government will confirm shortly when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November, but there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension.
  • Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions which, for the average claim, the Government states accounts for 5% of total employment costs for the hours not worked.
  • This extended CJRS will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs. There will be a short period when the government needs to change the legal terms of the scheme and update the system and businesses will be paid in arrears for that period.
  • The level of the grant will mirror levels available under the CJRS in August, so the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500.
  • As under the current CJRS, flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.
  • To be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must be on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October 2020. Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS.
  • When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
  • The grant must be paid to the employee in full.
  • Employers should continue to pay the employee for hours worked in the normal way.
  • As with the current CJRS, employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant at their own expense if they wish.
  • Additional guidance will be set out shortly.
  • Although the CJRS is UK-wide, it is being reported that clarity over the extension is being sought by the devolved nations as Wales is part-way through a two week firebreak and Scotland is not locked down but has introduced a five tier system.    

New National Restrictions

Key points for employers of the New National Restrictions from 5 November 2020: 

  • Everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where this is not possible, people should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. 
  • Certain businesses and venues have been ordered to close including all non-essential retail, indoor and outdoor leisure entertainment venues and personal care facilities.
  • Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. 
  • Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. Takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
  • Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only be open for those who have to travel for work purposes.
  • A full list of business closures will be published and set out in law.  There are some venues that will be permitted to remain open for specific exempt activities e.g. childcare and support groups. 
  • Travel is discouraged unless it is necessary to travel to work.
  • Schools and Universities will stay open.
  • These measures are subject to a Commons vote on Wednesday 4 November.

For more information, please contact Michael Powner.

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