Employment Law Update - March 2021 - Furlough Scheme extended to 30th September 2021

The furlough scheme/ CJRS has now been extended to 30th September 2021 following the Government’s latest announcement on 3 March.  However, the Government’s contribution will be reduced by 10% in July  and by 20% in August with employers required to make up the difference.

Pending any further changes, the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will apply up to 30 September 2021 as follows:

  • Up to 30 June 2021, the Government will pay 80% of wages for furloughed employees up to £2,500 per month (gross) although employers can top this up if they wish.  The employer is responsible for all payments of National Insurance and pension contributions. 
  • From 1 – 31 July 2021, the Government will pay 70% of wages for furloughed employees up to £2,187 per month (gross) with employers making up the 10% difference (plus NI and pensions)
  • From 1 August to 30 September 2021, the Government will pay 60% of wages up to a maximum of £1,875 with employers making up the 20% difference (plus NI and pensions).
  • Flexible furloughing is allowed under the extended CJRS as well as full time furloughing. The Government will pay for hours not worked.  Employers are required to pay for hours worked in the normal way.
  • Any notification to employees regarding furlough leave must be in writing. Employers are required to report hours worked and the usual hours employees would be expected to work in any claim period.
  • From May onwards, the extended CJRS can be claimed for all employees who are on the employer’s PAYE payroll on 2 March 2021.  The employer must have made a RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 to 2 March 2021 with details of earnings for these employees.
  • The extended CJRS is available for all employers whether or not they have made a previous CJRS claim.

Other Points

  • It is no longer possible for employers to claim for any period of notice served by employees (whether resignation or dismissal).  Employers also remain liable for redundancy costs.
  • Employees are entitled to be paid holiday pay at full rates so employers may need to top this up if the furloughed employees are getting 80% wages.  Holiday leave continues to accrue during furlough leave but employers still need to approve any holiday request.
  • Any claims made after 1st December 2020 are published on the HMRC website.  This is to meet HRMC transparency commitments and to deter fraudulent claims.  Furloughed employees will also be able to view claims made for them in their personal tax account.  This is to prevent claims by employers for employees who are still working.
  • Employees can request to be put on furlough leave for personal reasons such as childcare.  It is up to employers whether to accept the request.

Comment

By 30 September 2021, the CJRS will have been in place for almost 18 months.  Whilst less generous but more flexible than originally applied in April 2020, it remains to be seen whether the CJRS has saved jobs or simply deferred redundancies.

For further information or advice, please contact Tessa Fry at Solomon Taylor & Shaw tessa@solts.co.uk or 020 7317 8698.

Disclaimer – This update is intended to provide readers with information on recent legal developments. It should not be construed as legal advice or guidance on a particular matter.