Furlough Extension: Full Guidance Published - Here’s a Recap

19th Nov 2020
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Right, I can hardly keep up with the news lately, in particular anything to do with furlough. Every time I write an update on the current happenings the next day they get thrown out the window. It’s enough to give a girl a complex! 

Just a few weeks ago I was harping on about the end of furlough and the beginning of the Job Support Scheme (JSS). Well FORGET IT! Scratch it from thine memory because the government, after swearing they would not extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) under any circumstances, have now extended the CJRS until the end of March 2021. 

Ok good news (I guess?). But what’s new, if anything? So from November 1st, employers can claim 80% (yes we’re back to 80%) of an employee’s usual salary while they’re on furlough, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. Employees are eligible if they were employed and on the payroll on the 30th of October and the company must have made an RTI submission to HMRC for the employee since the furlough scheme began in March. 

But what about all those people who were let go because, oh I dunno, the government said there would be no further furlough support? Well, if you have made employees redundant or ended their contracts and ruined their Christmases then the good news is you can now have a lovely awkward conversation and re-employ them and place them back on furlough, provided they were fired (sorry, “made redundant”) after September 23rd and that they were on the PAYE payroll on or before this date. Thanks, Rishi! 

Employers can agree to furlough someone retrospectively from November 1st, but they must have had this agreement in place by Friday 13th November. The agreement must be in writing with the employee and must be kept on record for 6 years. 

Claims from November 1st must be submitted by midnight, 2 weeks after the employee is being claimed for. So you can submit claims for the month of November up until December 14th. 

So what else do you need to know? Here’s a few more points: 

  • Flexible furlough is still ok. ​
  • There is no maximum number of employees that you can claim the grant for. 
  • Apprentices can still be furloughed the same way as other employees and can continue to train. 
  • Employees that are on sick-leave or self-isolating due to COVID-19 cannot be furloughed, instead they must be placed on SSP, as furlough is not designed for short-term absence. However, the employee can be furloughed for business reasons, for example if they were due to be on furlough at that time regardless of whether they were sick or self-isolating, or if you are furloughing all employees. 

Furthermore, forget you ever heard of the JSS because, despite businesses preparing for it the past two months as it has been cancelled. The Job Retention Bonus (the £1,000 payment for each employee kept on until January 2021) has also been scrapped with promises of a new “retention incentive” at some point in the future. 

So there you have it. Yes, I’m super confused too. It’s more convoluted than a particularly bad episode of Hollyoaks and that’s really saying something. I would say something positive but it would be an empty platitude as who the hell knows what I’ll be writing about next week. 

Still confused about the extended CJRS? Join BrightPay for a free webinar where we deep-dive into what you need to know about the extension of the CJRS and what it now means for businesses. Limited places available - click here to book now.


Aoibheann Byrne

Written by Aoibheann Byrne
BrightPay Payroll Software



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