As England entered a second period of lockdown on 5 November 2020, the Chancellor unexpectedly announced that the already extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would continue to run beyond 2 December 2020, through to 31 March 2021.
This is clearly a welcome update in the current climate. However, it also means that an employee may potentially be on furlough leave for over a full year, as the scheme’s claim period originally ran from 1 March 2020.
The Chancellor also announced that the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus, due to be paid to an employer for each furloughed employee still employed on 31 January 2021, would be scrapped and replaced at a later date.
From what we currently know of the extended furlough scheme, the key points to be aware of are:
As was the position previously, any employer seeking to rely on the CJRS must do this by written agreement with its employees. Given the changes made, employers looking to utilise this extension to the CJRS are also advised to re-visit their existing furlough agreements and to check or extend these accordingly. Please contact our Employment Team if you need any assistance with your furlough agreements.
Guidance on this extension to the CJRS has not yet been published but this is expected to follow on 10 November 2020. We will continue to provide updates once this is received.