Furlough Scheme Extended in Response to Latest Lockdown
As England and Scotland return to a full lockdown, the Furlough Scheme has once again been extended in order to support businesses and employees who are unable to work as a result of the restrictions.
The scheme was originally due to end at the end of June, it was then extended until the end of October and the end of the 2020, before being extended until the end of March 2021. With the latest surge of the virus and the resulting lockdown, it has now been extended further until the end of April 2021.
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The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced that the scheme would be extended until the end of April 2021, with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages.
The scheme will continue to operate in the same way as previously. Employees will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked, and NICS and pensions for hours not worked, with the government paying 80% of salaries for hours not worked. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will continue unchanged and the cap will remain at £2,500 per month.
Sunak said, “Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.
“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead, regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.”
In addition to this, businesses who are struggling will also have until the end of March to access the government-guaranteed business loan schemes. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme had been due to close to new applications at the end of January.
So far, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has protected 9.6 million jobs across the UK, with over a million businesses accessing loans over £68 billion in guaranteed loans to help them through the crisis.
The furlough and loan schemes are part of the government’s wider plan to support, create, and protect jobs through its Plan for Jobs. This will include the Kickstart Scheme, more investment in training and skills, as well as the Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant, with a fourth grant being made available from February to April 2021.
To find out more about the Furlough scheme, or for payroll and accounting support, please get in touch.