Following the announcement of the second national lockdown between 5 November and 2 December 2020, the government confirmed the decision to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme was due to come to an end on 31 October 2020 to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme, but has now been extended until 31 March 2021.

Under the extended scheme employers affected by the coronavirus restrictions will be able to claim 80% of employee wages up to a maximum of £2500 per month per employee. The employer will continue to be responsible for the payment of national insurance and pension contributions for employees furloughed under the scheme.

Under the extended scheme employers will be able to furlough staff full time or elect to agree a flexible furlough arrangement where there is some work available but at a reduced level. On flexible furlough employees will be paid in full for the hours worked with the remaining unworked hours paid at 80%.

The chancellor has indicated that the scheme will be reviewed again in January, at which point the level of support may be amended and employers may be asked to make a bigger contribution.

The support applies to employers in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.

Job Retention Bonus

The Job Retention Bonus which was due to be paid to employers who retained previously furloughed staff until the end of January 2021 has been put on hold for the time being. The indication is that the Job Retention Bonus will be replaced by a “retention incentive” that would be deployed at an “appropriate time”.