Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates: March 2021
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of September of 2021 to help businesses ease out of lockdown as restrictions gradually lift. The CJRS will continue to operate in its current form until the end of June 2021 – employees receive 80% of their salary for hours not worked, with employers contributing NICs and pension payments. From July 2021, employers will be required to contribute 10% towards the cost of unworked hours, which will increase to 20% in the months of August and September 2021.
Government guidance documents will continue to be regularly updated. The suite of guidance documents can be found here. Key points to take away from recent updates include:
- The requirement to calculate a week’s pay for furloughed employees by reference to their normal weekly rate of pay (not their furloughed rate) for statutory payments including notice and redundancy pay is continued.
- The guidance makes it clear that employees can be furloughed if they are unable to work from home, or are working reduced hours because they are following public health guidance and are clinically vulnerable or at risk of serious illness, or because they have caring responsibilities arising out of Covid-19 including caring for a vulnerable person or children as a result of school closures.
- Employers will not be able to make claims in respect of employees who are on notice from February 2021.
- As we approach the one year anniversary of the introduction of the CJRS, the guidance on calculating salary for employee’s who are not on a fixed rate has also been updated to reflect the fact that they may have been on furlough during the months of March and April 2020. The ‘relevant reference month’ for March and April 2021 claims will be March and April 2019. For employees who were not employed in March and April 2019, the averaging method must be used to calculate their usual working hours.
The above points are made at the time of writing and we expect them to be updated shortly following the announcement of the further extension to the scheme.
If you would like any further information on the CJRS, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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