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On Thursday 5 November 2020, the Government published a Policy Paper setting out the principles which will apply to the extension of the CJRS Furlough Scheme.

Here are some key initial points to note, pending the publication of detailed Guidance, which the Government has said will happen on Tuesday 10 November 2020.

When will The CJRS extension be in force?

The CJRS extension will run between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2022. The initial rules will apply until 31 January 2021, but may change from 1 February 2021, depending on the outcome of a review in January 2021.

How much of a furloughed employee's usual pay can employers claim?

Employers can claim 80% of furloughed employees’ usual pay for the hours which those employees would otherwise have worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month if any employee is fully furloughed. Where the employee is partly furloughed, the £2,500 cap is reduced pro rata.

Do employers need to have used the CJRS before?

Employers do not need to have used the CJRS previously, and can also furlough employees who have not been furloughed before.

Is the scheme UK-wide?

Employers in all parts of the UK can claim, whether their businesses are open or closed.

Will public services be able to use the scheme?

As before, publicly funded organisations will not be expected to use the scheme, but they may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted.

What is the cut off date for employee eligibility for the scheme?

Employers can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020, and in respect of whom the employer made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.

Will employers have to contribute to employees’ pay for the hours they do not work?

Employers will not be expected to contribute to employees’ pay for the hours they do not work (although they can choose to do so), but they will have to pay National Insurance and statutory employer pension contributions on the furlough payments made for those hours.

If an employee was made redundant, can they be re-employed and furloughed?

Employees who were on the payroll on 23 September 2020 but who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for, provided that the employer made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC from 20 March 2020 to 23 September 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for those employees.

Can employees still work for their employee where recorded as being on furlough?

During hours which employees are recorded as being on furlough, they cannot do any work for their employer that makes money or provides services for their employer or any organisation linked or associated with their employer, but can take part in training, volunteer for another employer or organisation or work for another employer (if contractually allowed).

What do employers need to do to be eligible for the grant?

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have confirmed to their employee (or reached collective agreement with a trade union) in writing that they have been furloughed or flexibly furloughed. The employee does not have to provide a written response (although that remains the best way of evidencing the employee’s agreement). This could perhaps be done by email exchange.

When can employers claim from?

Employers will be able to claim from 8am on Wednesday 11 November 2020, in arrears for the period from 1 to 11 November 2020, and in advance from the week commencing 9 November 2020.

What is the cut-off date for claims relating to November 2020?

Claims relating to November 2020 must be made by 14 December 2020. Claims relating to each subsequent month should be submitted by day 14 of the following month, to ensure prompt claims following the end of the month which is the subject of the claim.

What about the Job Support Scheme?

The launch of the Job Support Scheme has been postponed.

When will the Job Retention Bonus be paid?

The Job Retention Bonus (JRB) will not be paid in February 2021 and a retention incentive will be deployed at the appropriate time.

This information was provided by the employment team at Ashfords Solicitors.

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.