It was announced on 31st October that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended until December and the Job Support Scheme due to launch on 1st November will be delayed (launching when the new furlough extension ends).
Some key points to consider as an employer:
- For November the extended furlough scheme will pay up to 80% of an employee’s normal pay, capped at £2,500 and employers will be responsible for NICs and pension contributions (as it was in August).
- The exact end date of the extended scheme is unclear but at present the latest lockdown is planned until 2nd December so it seems sensible to work to this date at present.
- Flexi-furlough continues to be an option, so employees can work part-time and receive a furlough grant for unworked hours.
- To be eligible under this extension, employees must simply have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll before 23:59 on 30th October 2020. This means a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 30th October.
- At the moment, it is not clear if employers can re-hire employees to put them onto the extended furlough scheme.
- It is also unclear how the furlough extension will affect the Job Retention Bonus, under which the employee needs to be retained in employment and paid a minimum amount for November, December and January. It’s unclear if furlough pay will count towards the minimum or if the government will now amend the bonus scheme.
- For businesses that have already put in place Job Support Scheme Open Agreements they should contact affected employees as soon as possible to explain that the government has made a last-minute decision to extend the furlough scheme and to ask them to agree to continue on furlough instead. You should ensure that your business meets the criteria and that you have signed documentation for all employees so that you can field queries from HMRC later down the line.
As always, it’s key that you have the right documentation in place – please get in touch if you need help with this or if you have any questions. We’re here to help.