CJRS: Main changes to the extended scheme
Towards the end of 2020, the Chancellor announced the furlough scheme’s extension until 30 April 2021, with it continuing to contribute 80 per cent towards employees’ wages.
Despite its close resemblance to the initial scheme launched in March 2020, this time around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is subject to some slightly different rules. The main changes to consider are below.
Employees on annual leave
The rules on taking annual leave while furloughed remain the same. Employers must pay their employees in full for this time.
Employees serving a notice period
With the rules of the initial CJRS, there were no restrictions regarding furloughed employees who were also serving their notice period, and they could be subject to redundancy whilst on the scheme.
However, now, employers cannot claim furlough grants for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods from 1 December 2020 – be that for notice of redundancy, resignation or retirement.
Employees on Statutory Maternity Leave
Employees on maternity leave who wished to return early while the first CJRS was running got initially placed on furlough providing they gave at least eight weeks’ notice of their requested return.
Under the extended CJRS, the notice period could be shorter in certain circumstances.
Employees on sick leave
The Government guidance states that employers can decide if they keep an employee on the furlough scheme or put them on sick leave, in the event of illness. If the choice is sick leave, employers need to pay their employee the necessary Statutory Sick Pay, if they qualify.
HMRC will shortly be published various details of claims made by employers from the current version of the CJRS.
If you are unsure whether you are adhering to the guidance of the CJRS, contact a member of our expert team today.