Following the announcement over the weekend that a national lockdown willcome into effect at 00.01 Thursday 5 November, PM Boris Johnson confirmedthat the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“#CJRS”) will be extendedfurther until the end of November. The scheme was due to end on 31 October2020, coinciding with the launch of the Job Support Scheme (“JSS”), but inwelcomed news, the original scheme will now continue, a lifeline for manybusinesses and employees given that the JSS offers a minimum of 67% forclosed businesses under #JSSClosed and 73% for businesses where anemployee works at least 20% of their usual hours under #JSSOpen..
Sorry we are closed
#Lockdown2 will see the hospitality and leisure impacted severely as it has been confirmed that all non essential businesses will have to close for a month. Closure of pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops, will mean millions of employees will not be able to attend work through no choice of their own.
Employer do’s and don’ts
Employers will still be expected to cover pension and national insurance contributions. There will also be the ability to bring back employees part time and furlough them for days / hours not worked under the ‘flexible furlough’ scheme which came into effect from July 2020.Flexible furlough – where employers can bring back employees part-time and furlough them for the time they do not work – will continue.
Eligibility for ‘extended’ CJRS
To be eligible for the extension of the furlough scheme, the employee must have been on the payroll by 30 October. Unexpectedly, an employee does nothave to have been on the furlough scheme before. Whilst the scheme provides the security of 80% contribution towards salary upto the maximum of £2,500, employers can and are encouraged if at all possible to top up the CJRS contributions.
Waiting for further guidance
There will be no gap between the previously claimed for grant sums under thescheme and the extended scheme, and further announcements are shortly expected to confirm when the first claims can be made as well as the logistics of the extended scheme.
Concerns remain that the news of the extension of the scheme has come too late with businesses having taken action prior to the initial expected close date of the scheme by making redundancies leading up to the end of October.It is hoped that the extended scheme will allow employers to rehire staff who have been made redundant, however whether this is possible is not yet known.
Employers to consider revising business plans to take into account the extension of the scheme depending on the expected impact of the ‘lockdown to their business.- Placing staff on furlough (whether furlough is being extended or they are being placed on furlough), will require agreement (depending on the drafting of current furlough agreements) with the employee and a written record of the same.- Employers to consider whether they are willing / able to top up the 80%Government contribution to salary up to a maximum of £2,500 and communicate the same to employees.- Employers to consider CJRS –v- JSS and what is best for the businessand long term impact of the same and take the appropriate steps to implement the same.
For further advice on the ‘extended’ CJRS or the JSS please contact a member of the employment team on 020 8363 4444.
Please note that information is correct at the time of writing, for up to date guidance and rules on support schemes available through the pandemic please visit here.