Boris Johnson announced on Saturday 31 October that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), due to finish at the end of October, will be extended through to March 2021.
The CJRS will operate in exactly the same way as before, with employees receiving furlough pay of 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500.
Johnson said: “The furlough scheme was a success in the spring and supported people in businesses in a critical time.
“As restrictions get tougher, we are taking steps to provide further financial support to protect jobs and businesses. These changes will provide a vital safety net for people across the UK.”
The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1 November, has now been delayed until the furlough scheme ends.
The extension of the scheme is crucial in ensuring workers of non-essential retail and hospitality, forced to close in the four-week lockdown, will still be paid.
Employers small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended CJRS and will be paid upfront by the government to pay their staff. Businesses will only be required to contribute to 5% of employment costs and will apply on behalf of their employees through the government website.
Employees may be brought back to work on a part time basis, in which case they would receive part-time furlough for hours not worked or can be furloughed full time.
Employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant at their own expense but not under a legal requirement to do so.
In order to be eligible for the scheme, the only requirement is that employees must be on the PAYE payroll by 30 October.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I have always said that we will do whatever it takes as the situation evolves. Now – along with many other countries around the world – we face a tough winter ahead.”
Image Credit: Rebekah Lowri