As the nation has entered a second national lock-down, the Government has introduced further support packages and amended existing schemes. Amongst the changes include changes to the Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme) which was due to end on 31st October. The close proximity of the announcement and the original end date of the JRS has caused confusion for businesses who had placed staff on the Job Support Scheme (JSS) from 1st November.
On 31st October, Boris Johnson announced that the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) will be extended until December due to a national lock-down in England effective from 5th November until 2nd December. During this extension period, the JSS will be put on hold until after the JRS has officially come to an end. The effect of this is the JSS scheme can not be made use of by businesses at all until it begins post JRS – even if agreements were made with staff.
It is advisable that a new agreement is made between your business and staff to place them on the extended JRS. The Government has decided to return to the original structure of the JRS, with some slight differences. Your client, as well as employers in all parts of the UK (not just England) will be able to place their staff on the JRS and claim 80% of their salary up to a cap of £2,500 per month per employee. The difference is that employers will be asked to contribute National Insurance and Pensions contributions during this period whilst they claim under the JRS.
Flexible furlough is also being extended so that if employees can work some hours out of their usual working hours, they can do so and be put on furlough the rest of the time. To be eligible now for the extended JRS, employers and their employees do not need to have used the JRS or been furloughed before; employees need only have been on an employer’s PAYE payroll by 23:59 30th October. This means that your business must have made a payroll submission to HMRC on or before 30th October.
Where any staff may have worked hours on 1st November under the JSS, as the Government’s announcement on the JRS extension was made on 31st October, it would have been expected that employers would not have carried out any arrangements on the basis of the JSS. It is therefore unlikely that your client will be able to make any claims for 1st November under the JSS. Instead, businesses can agree with staff that those hours worked be classified as flexible furlough.
AJN are on hand to support businesses through these measures and welcome enquiries.