Just as we thought the furlough scheme was over and done with, the newly announced lockdown for England means it has been extended.
The furlough scheme (formally, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) aims to keep people in work during the economic turbulence caused by Covid-19 via a government subsidy of wages. The scheme was supposed to end on Saturday 31 October, but Boris Johnson announced that very same day that it will be extended until December. The exact date it will expire this time round is unclear but it is likely to coincide with the end of the lockdown restrictions in England, which are currently due to be lifted on 2 December.
Under the scheme, employers can claim 80% of employees' salaries from the government, up to £2,500, with employers just covering employer NICs and pension contributions. There is also the option of flexi-furlough, where employees can work part-time and receive a furlough grant for unworked hours.
My colleagues have summarised what we know so far in an insight article here. You'll also find there some suggested wording for urgent communications to employees you want to put on furlough.
There are still lots of unanswered questions, such as whether employers can rehire employees who were made redundant in anticipation of the furlough scheme ending. We will be considering all the information the government puts out about the scheme and keeping our website updated with developments.
The government has widened the furlough scheme so that, to be eligible to be claimed for under this extension, employees must simply have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll before midnight on 30th October 2020 ... This will come as particularly welcome news for those employees who have never qualified for furlough but who would have been eligible for JSS.