Yesterday, the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), or ‘furlough’, will be extended until the end of March 2021, for all parts of the UK.
Under the extended CJRS, the Government will cover 80% of employees’ salaries for hours not worked (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month). Unlike when the last national lockdown started, employers will be required to cover employer pension contributions and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for hours not worked, in addition to covering an employee’s salary and employer pension contributions and NICs for any hours actually worked.
The CJRS extension will be reviewed in January “to examine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions”.
Job Support Scheme
As a result of the extension to the CJRS, the introduction of the Job Support Scheme, which was originally due to apply from 1 November 2020, has been delayed.
Employers who have taken steps to place employees on the Job Support Scheme, including switching furloughed employees onto that scheme, will need to contact those individuals immediately to ensure that they are covered by the extended CJRS instead. Please do get in touch with your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact for assistance with this.
Job Retention Bonus
The Job Retention Bonus, which was introduced to encourage the retention of employees until at least the end of January 2021, will not now be paid in February. Instead, the Government has said that it will launch a new retention incentive “at the appropriate time”.
If you have any queries about how the extended CJRS will operate and what it means for employer and employee pension contributions, please contact your usual HSF adviser.