In another day of surprise announcements the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), also known as the "furlough" scheme, is being extended until the end of the March 2021. 

The announcement by the Chancellor confirmed:

  1. The Government will pay 80% of an employee’s wages up to the maximum cap of £2,500.
  2. Employers can claim even if they, or the relevant employees, had not previously utilised the CJRS.
  3. The level of wage support offered will be reviewed and may be amended in January.
  4. The furlough can be flexible furlough.
  5. As part of the revised scheme, anyone made redundant after 23 September can be rehired and put back on furlough.
  6. The Job Retention Bonus of £1,000 per employee retained by a business has been removed to be replaced in time with a possible “retention incentive”. No further details were provided as to when or what this new scheme would look like. The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is also on hold until further notice.

We understand that full guidance will be provided on or around 10 November 2020. We will be updating our CJRS Q&A and will let you know when this is ready. In the meantime, the detail of what is known so far can be found within the Policy Paper “Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme” published today, which can be found here:

IMPORTANT NOTE – As before, there will need to be a written agreement in place to furlough the employee (Furlough Agreement). The government has confirmed that the furlough agreement can be made retrospectively to have effect from 1 November 2020 and will be valid for the purposes of claiming the CJRS grant, provided that it was put in place by 13 November 2020. We are in the process of updating our template Furlough and Flexible Furlough Agreement letters and these will be available on our Customer Zone. Customers should ensure that these are put into place with furloughed staff by 13 November 2020 at the latest.


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Author: Sarah Dillon

Director, ESP Law Ltd

Sarah is a litigation expert with over 15 years’ experience. Sarah embarked on her career in employment law as an advocate for an employment law consultancy and continued as an advocate alongside being an employment law advisor for a plethora of reputable UK law firms including: DAC Beachcroft, Ward Hadaway and Richmonds Solicitors, where she was head of the employment department.

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