In an unexpected announcement (and early Christmas present for employment lawyers), the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) until 30 April 2021.
Whilst this is only a one month extension to Furlough and Flexible Furlough Leave under the CJRS (which was due to end on 31 March 2021), the more significant update is that the Government have confirmed that they will continue to contribute 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked (by way of grants) until the Scheme’s closure at the end of April, whilst employers will only be responsible for NI and pension contributions. It was previously expected that the Government’s contribution would begin to decline from January 2021 (as it did throughout the summer of this year).
The Government’s stated intention in extending the CJRS, and confirming the extent of the grants that can be claimed for, is to allow businesses to plan their business and staffing needs with further certainty throughout the winter and early spring.
Another explanation of the extension is that the Chancellor has also confirmed a Budget will take place on 3 March 2021 – this means businesses will have certainty thereafter as to the economic position and support available (or not) and well ahead of the 45 day period required for collective redundancy consultations (should such be timed to coincide with the end of the CJRS).
You can read our previous article on the CJRS being extended in November here.
As always, the Leathes Prior Employment Team will be on hand to guide and advise all of our clients through the extension of the CJRS. Please contact either email@example.com or call us on 01603 610911 if you have any queries or are seeking advice about how these changes may affect you or your business.