Correct as of 5 November 2020
We have provided various updates on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme) including when the scheme was first announced, when further guidance was issued on 26 March 2020, on 6 April 2020, on 8 April 2020 as further details were announced, on 9 April 2020, on 15 April 2020 as the scheme expanded in scope when the scheme went live on 20 April 2020, when the scheme was extended until the end of October, when the Treasury Directions were updated, on 29 May 2020 when changes to the scheme were announced, when further details of the Flexible Furlough scheme were announced, when Flexible Furlough Scheme went live. and when the Scheme was extended beyond October 31st.
The Chancellor has today announced that the scheme (which had only recently been extended until December) will now be further extended until March 2021, with the government set to pay 80% of salaries up to a maximum of £2500 per month – as was the case when the scheme was originally opened earlier this year. However, there will be a review of the scheme in January to determine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.
The announcement confirmed that employers in any part of the UK will be able to access the scheme until next March.
In terms of support for the self-employed, it was confirmed that this will double to 80% of average earnings in the previous year (up to a maximum of £7500 for 3 months' trading).
In light of the scheme being extended, the Chancellor also confirmed that the Job Retention Bonus will now not operate as was previously planned, with retention incentive options to be reviewed at a later date when more appropriate.
A separate factsheet released by the Treasury revealed that employees who were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme announcement) who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees. There are a number of potential complexities to re-employing these employees, therefore employers should consider taking specific legal advice on this point.
The factsheet also disclosed that HMRC will publish details of employers who make claims from December onwards under the extended scheme. Full details of this will be within the detailed guidance to be published next week on Tuesday 10 November. We'll provide a further update when this guidance is released.
What about the Job Support Scheme?
It remains to be seen whether the Job Support Scheme will now come into place in March following the new extension, or whether this scheme has been placed entirely on hold for the time being. Certainly, for the moment, both the Open and Closed versions of the scheme will no longer applicable, and it is the extended furlough that will support employers.
Get in touch
If you have any queries please contact one of the employment team to discuss further.