Job retention scheme now extended until 31 March 2021

Nov 09, 2020

After announcing on 31 October that the coronavirus job retention scheme (“CJRS”) would be extended for one further month into November 2020, just five days later the Chancellor announced the scheme will now run until 31 March 2021 for all parts of the UK. The final date for claims for the period up to 31 October is still 30 November 2020.

For claim periods running to 31 January 2021, the Government will pay 80 per cent of employees’ usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This policy with be reviewed in January 2021 to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more. It is therefore confirmed that the job retention bonus will not now be paid in February 2021 – an alternative retention incentive will instead be considered by the Government.

What you need to do now

If you or your clients intend to claim under the extended CJRS, please look at information published on how you can check if you’re eligible to claim, and what you need to agree with your employees.

This latest information applies for CJRS claim periods from 1 November 2020. The full guidance for claims from November onwards, including more information on how to calculate a claim, is expected to be published tomorrow and claims are due to open from 11 November 2020. The provisional guidance available answers some of our queries raised last week with HMRC.

Employers do not need to have used the CJRS previously and employers across the UK can claim, whether their businesses are open or closed. As with the previous CJRS, the Government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the scheme, as has already been the case for CJRS, but partially publicly funded organisations may be eligible where their private revenues have been disrupted. All other previous CJRS eligibility requirements also apply to these employers.

HMRC will also publish details of employers who make claims under the extended CJRS scheme, starting from December.

Employees furloughed under the CJRS extension

Core employee eligibility criteria is as follows:-

  • Employers can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020;
  • The employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information submission to HMRC between the 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee; and
  • Employers will have flexibility to use the scheme for employees for any amount of time or shift pattern, furloughing employees on either a full-time or part-time basis, and will be able to vary the hours worked in agreement with the employee.

As under the current CJRS rules, employees can be on any type of employment contract.

Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for.

Similarly, an employee who was on a fixed term contract, on payroll on 23 September, and that contract expired after 23 September can be re-employed and claimed for, provided that the other eligibility criteria are met.

Useful links:-

Guidance to clarify the eligibility conditions for Universal Credit and New Style Employment and Support Allowance, to add Pension Credit, New Style Jobseeker's Allowance and the Test and Trace Support Payment as other financial help that can be claimed, is also available.