The Times

Covid Job Retention (“Furlough”) Scheme – Version 3

Replacing the planned Job Support Scheme (see previous post) from 1 November we have reverted to, effectively, the Flexi-Furlough scheme at 80% of wages with no contribution to NICs or Pension.  To keep to the key issues:

  • The scheme runs to 31 March 2021 but expect the 80% contribution to taper off again early in the new year (scheme to be ‘reviewed’ in January, we understand).
  • ‘New’ employees can qualify, so long as they were on an RTI (monthly/weekly payroll e-submission) on or before 30 October 2020.
  • For those using the scheme from 1 December, expect your company name and number (and potentially amount claimed) to be on the public record.  Also expect a mechanism by which employees can find out whether they have been included on a furlough claim (to encourage whistleblowing).
  • Shorter deadlines:  claims must be made by the 14th of the next month.
  • The referenced rate of pay calculation can get tricky as it depends on factors such as whether an employee has been furloughed before or not.
  • The Job Retention Bonus (£1,000 per person furloughed and brought back) has been shelved, but is due to return in another shape or form.  We expect it to be significantly reduced (or eliminated) and we agree with the sentiment that it’s a scheme with a relatively small return on the investment (a £1,000 bonus is unlikely to sway many employers to keep someone on that would otherwise have been moved on, yet the scale of the scheme uptake means it will cost the chancellor a fortune to deliver).