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Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as England enters a new lockdown

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By Lucy Farrow-Smith

On 31 October 2020, the government announced the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which was due to end that same day, as part of the new month-long lockdown in England set to start on 5 November 2020.

Who is eligible?

Employers of any size, whether charitable or non-charitable, will be eligible for the scheme which will continue for another month. Officials say furlough will now be open to new entrants who were on their employer's PAYE payslip by 23:59 on 30 October 2020. This is the first time since July that new entrants can be added to the scheme.

Businesses will still have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time or to furlough them full time. The level of the grant will mirror the levels available in August 2020, when the government paid 80% of unworked wages up to a cap of £2,500. This contrasts with recent months, where the government contribution has been scaling down. Employers will pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions, and should continue to pay the employee for hours worked in the normal way. Employers’ claims need to be for a minimum period of seven consecutive calendar days. Employers can choose to further top up their employees' pay if they wish.

The Open Job Support Scheme

Introduction of the Open Job Support Scheme, as discussed in our previous article, has been delayed. It will be introduced following the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is expected to end on 2 December 2020, assuming this is when lockdown ends.

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