The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has within the hour, announced that the furlough scheme is to be extended for an additional month, to 30 April 2021. This follows the Chancellor’s original statement on 5 November which advised that the furlough scheme would be extended until 31 March 2021.
The scheme means that the government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until 30 April 2021. For the avoidance of doubt, employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked. The eligibility for the UK-wide furlough scheme remains unchanged and the extension to 30 April 2021 applies to all Devolved Administrations.
It is understood that the scheme has been extended to provide businesses and employees across the UK with some level of certainty into the new year and access to monetary support. Government statistics reveal that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has protected 9.6 million jobs across the UK with more than one million businesses accessing loans in order to support them through the pandemic crisis.
Rishi Sunak is reported to have said;
“Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.
“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.”
In addition to the furlough scheme extension, the Chancellor has also confirmed the extension of the government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loans schemes – Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme until the end of March 2021. These had been due to close at the end of January. The extension is to ensure that businesses can continue to access the monetary support in order to grow and recover. Government statistics reveal that the schemes have already provided over £68 billion in guaranteed loans in helping businesses to keep afloat in all sectors of the UK economy that have been impacted by the devastating pandemic. It is believed that a successor loan scheme will be available beyond March 2021 in order to continue the support to UK businesses. More details are expected to be announced in due course.
Our employment team have carefully reviewed the furlough scheme guidance and produced a detailed note. To access this, please click here. For all related enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact our employment team on 01254 828 300.
To access the latest government note, click here.