Up until Saturday, despite increasing pressures especially from the North, the government were adamant that furlough would not be extended, and would instead be replaced by the Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to kick in from 1st November. However, after a day of newspapers reporting that lockdown2 was on the horizon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on the evening of the day furlough was due to end, stepped forward and said that England would be put back into lockdown from 5th November until 2ndDecember, with furlough being extended throughout this time.
So, what do we know about this extended furlough?
When will it end?
It’s currently scheduled to end on 2nd December. However, if, as some predict, lockdown is extended past this date, then the furlough scheme may well be as well.
How much with the government contribute?
Since September, the amount that the government was contributing to employees wages reduced on a sliding scale, with employers having to pay 10% and 20% of the wages in September and October respectively. However, this extension is mirroring the contributions as they stood back in August, with the government paying the full 80% furlough, and employers just covering pension and NI contributions.
As it stands, we do not yet have confirmation on what wage this 80% will be calculated on. For furlough from March – October, this was based on the last pay before 19th March 2020. However, as the scheme is now open to new employees (see next point below), presumably this will have to be changed for the November furlough. The government has said that information is ‘to follow’, so we will keep this blog updated as and when we get confirmation of this.
Who can use the scheme, and is it available UK wide?
Yes… even though lockdown rules are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, this scheme is available to all small or large employers across the UK. It is also worth pointing out that you/your employer don’t need to have used the furlough scheme previously to qualify. You simply need to have been on the payroll on 30th October to be eligible (specifically an RTI payroll submission must have been made for you before this date). It is also worth pointing out that if you have been made redundant since 23rdSeptember 2020, then your employer will have the option to be able to rehire and then furlough you, although this is by no means obligatory on the employers.
Can I still work part time?
Yes. If your employer still wants you to work part time and furlough you just for the hours that you don’t work, then this is allowed, although it is assumed (again, not confirmed as of yet) that the employer will have to cover your normal rate wages for any hours that you do work.
So, what about the Job Support Scheme?
Well… this has been postponed until the extension of the furlough scheme comes to an end. So, as it stands, presumably this will now come in on 3rd December 2020 (after lockdown ends), but like with so much this year, nothing is set in stone!
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