Government Plays Trick this Halloween with Immediate Furlough Extension
- AuthorCatherine Almeida
Boris Johnson played the ultimate ‘trick or treat’ this Halloween by announcing major changes to the support available to employers and employees.
The changes announced on Saturday 31st October, came into play less than 12 hours later, in order to support the UK announcement of tougher lockdown restrictions.
Welsh businesses were initially told that Furlough would not be extended as confirmed by the Chancellor when the First Minister asked for help prior to imposing the firebreak lockdown here in Wales.
Businesses worked quickly when the firebreak lockdown was announced to support employees and confirm the arrangements for mandatory closures or the utilisation of the open Job Support Scheme that would start at the end of Furlough, at this time thought to be 31st October 2020.
With the announcement of a month long lockdown in England a major change in the support schemes available was confirmed. As of 1st November 2020, the Government has postponed the introduction of the Job Support Scheme (both Open and Closed Schemes) and extended Furlough (the CJRS).
From the information currently available, we know that the Government contribution has increased back to the 80% (subject to a cap of £2,500 PCM) for the month of November with employers expected to pick up the NI and pension contribution costs.
It is not yet clear how long the extension will last. At present it seems to be 1 month which ties in with the end date of the England lockdown. Employees will be eligible if they were on the real time PAYE by 23.59pm 30th October 2020, meaning a new qualification date where employees who were previously ineligible can be Furloughed. Flexible Furlough can also continue with the claim period remaining no less than 7 calendar days.
This means any agreement for the open and closed Job Support Scheme will be invalid from 1st November 2020, as the scheme has been postponed and is not operational.
If you require employees to remain on the newly extended Furlough scheme, you will need to obtain updated written agreements.