Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

On Saturday 31 October 2020, a second lockdown for England was announced.

To support businesses and individuals through this, the government is providing additional financial support as part of the plan for the next phase of response to the pandemic.

It has been confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the furlough scheme – which was due to end on 31 October, will remain open until December. 

The government has protected over nine million jobs across the UK with the furlough scheme as well as supporting those who are self-employed with over £13 billion in economic support.

Employees will continue to receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme will see the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced, meaning the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.

The Job Support Scheme, previously scheduled to come in on Sunday 1 November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends in December. 

Summary of the changes:

  • The Government will pay 80% of employees’ unworked hours up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
  • Employers are required to fund employers NIC and pension contributions.
  • All employers, small or large, charitable or non-profit, are eligible for the extended Job Retention Scheme.
  • There is no requirement for employers and employees to have previously used the scheme to claim for periods from 1 November.
  • Employees must have been on their employer’s payroll scheme by 30 October and have a UK bank account, UK PAYE will be eligible.
  • Companies will have the option to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis or furlough them full-time.
  • Employers are permitted to top-up employee wages if they wish.
  • The Job Support Scheme will be deferred until the end of the furlough scheme in December.

We are expecting reference pay and usual hours will be calculated following the same method previously. However, the nature of this immediate announcement means that adequate guidance is yet to be released. 

Additional government guidance is expected shortly.

Further Business Grants

In addition, a Local Restrictions Support Grant of up to £3,000 will be available to businesses where their premises are forced to close in England.

Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following properties with a rateable value of:

  • £15k or under: grants to be £1,334 per month or £667 per two weeks;
  • £15k-£51k: grants to be £2,000 per month or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • £51k or over: grants to be £3,000 per month or £1,500 per two weeks.

If you need to discuss the above or have any other questions, you can contact our partners and team or send us a query via our contact form.