Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on Saturday evening that a new National Lockdown will start on Thursday, 5 November 2020, the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which was due to start on 1 November 2020, has been postponed and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is being extended until December.
What are the new national restrictions?
Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available can be found here.
Who is eligible under the extended CJRS?
The HM Treasury press release outlines the eligibility rules governing the extended CJRS.
It states that neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously used the CJRS, and that the scheme is available in respect of employees who were on the employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 on 30 October 2020.
Employees can be on any type of contract, which means that it is expected to cover casual workers and agency staff as before.
The government expects that publicly funded organisations will not use the scheme, as has already been the case for CJRS.
What can be claimed?
Under the extended CJRS, the Government will pay 80% of wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500. This means that employers will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November (unless they choose to top up employees’ wages), mirroring the terms of the CJRS back in August.
Flexible furloughing is allowed under the extended CJRS, as well as full-time furloughing.
How will claims be calculated?
Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Such calculations will broadly follow the same methodology as currently under the CJRS.
When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.
Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
When should you claim?
The Government will confirm shortly when claims can first be made in respect of employee wage costs during November, but there will be no gap in eligibility for support between the previously announced end-date of CJRS and this extension.
What does this mean for the Job Support Scheme?
The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to come into effect on 1st November, has been postponed until the CJRS ends.
Critically, for those employers who were planning to move employees onto the JSS, they now need to consider what action to take as a matter of urgency.
What do you need to do to furlough employees?
If the affected employees were previously on the CJRS, the employer should review the relevant paperwork to determine the previous furlough agreement is still effective, or consider entering into new agreements if necessary. This will need to be done as a matter of urgency.
What other support is available?
In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. The grants shall be assessed as follows:
- for properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks;
- for properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks; and
- for properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.
As with our other updates, this is only intended to be a summary and not specific legal advice. If you need any help or would like further information about how we can support your business, or advice generally about managing your workforce during these unprecedented times, please do not hesitate to contact the Employment Team.
Selene Holden (firstname.lastname@example.org | 01284 717436)
Greg Jones (email@example.com | 01284 717446)
Angharad Ellis Owen (firstname.lastname@example.org | 01284 717453).