On 5th November the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced that the furlough scheme would be extended until the end of March 2021. Subsequently, the Treasury has published guidance confirming that the extended furlough scheme will operate similarly to how it did between March and October this year. Here are some key points about the current scheme:
- The furlough scheme will now run until the end of March, with a review in January
- Employees on furlough will get 80% of their salary, up to £2,500/mth. This 80% will be paid by the government, which mirrors their previous contributions in August. Employers won’t need to contribute to your wages for the time you spend furloughed, but they will need to cover your pension and national insurance contributions.
- The scheme will be reviewed in January, at which stage your employer might have to contribute more, but you’ll still get 80%. This is when the Government will review whether the situation has improved enough to allow for additional employer contributions.
- Employers across the UK can use the scheme – even if they haven’t before. Those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland should also be able to apply, even though they are subject to different lockdown rules than those announced for England. It’s open to small, medium and large employers, as well as those which are charitable or not-for-profit – and crucially your employer doesn’t previously need to have used the furlough scheme.
- You DON’T need to have been furloughed before to take part. However you do need to have been on your employer’s PAYE payroll on 30th October to be eligible. (To be precise, your employer must have made a Real Time Information payroll submission on your behalf on or before 30th October).
- Been made redundant or left your job since late September? You CAN be rehired and furloughed. This applies if you were employed on 23rd September and have since been made redundant or left your position voluntarily. (To be precise, your employer must have made a Real Time Information payroll submission on your behalf on or before 23rd September AND you must have been made redundant or left voluntarily after 23rd September).
- You WILL be able to work part-time while on furlough. Your employer can either put you on furlough full-time, or you’ll be able to work part-time and be furloughed for the hours you don’t work. Your employer will have to cover your wages at the normal rate for any hours you do work.
- You can’t work for your employer during the hours you’re furloughed. This includes your normal work obligations and anything beyond your usual remit. However, you can work for another employer whilst furloughed (if your contract allows this) or volunteer elsewhere.
- Employees on all types of contract can take part. This includes those on zero-hours contracts and fixed-term contracts, as well as agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies) and supply teachers.
- Shielders unable to work because they’re deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus can be furloughed. It is the employer’s decision whether to furlough you though. If you’ve asked and they won’t, check if you’re eligible for statutory sick pay.
We have provided an additional update on markets and investments during COVID which has a deep dive into the impacts globally. You can find this blog here.