Covid-19: Extension to Job Retention Scheme to March 2021

The Chancellor has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended until 31 March 2021. This supersedes both the Job Support Scheme (JSS) due to start on 1 November 2020 and the short extension to the original furlough scheme to cover the lockdown in England.

How does the extended Furlough Scheme Work?

Eligible employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, with flexibility for employees to work any amount of time and shift pattern, including being furloughed full-time. There will be no employer contribution to wages for hours not worked.

Employers will only cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for hours not worked. There will be a review in January to decide whether to ask employers to contribute more. Claims made for November must be submitted to HMRC by 14 December 2020. Claims relating to each subsequent month should be submitted by day 14 of the following month.

Which employees are eligible?

Neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS (if other eligibility criteria are met). An employer can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020. The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

Can employees be re-employed?

Yes – employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 (the day before the Job Support Scheme was announced) who were made redundant or stopped working afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. The employer must have made an RTI submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.

What is happening to the Job Retention Bonus?

The Job Retention Bonus that was due to be paid in February in respect of each furloughed employee still employed on 1 February 2021 has been withdrawn. The Chancellor has stated that the Government will instead redeploy a retention incentive “at the right time”.