The Chancellor has announced an extension to the furlough scheme from 1st November 2020.   The full details are going to be published on 10th November 2020 but here are the highlights.  There will be a further post once the finer details are published.

This scheme is due to be in place until 31st March 2021 but it will be reviewed in January 2021 and may be reduced in the same way as the previous scheme was reduced during September and October 2020.

  • You can furlough anyone who was on your PAYE system as at 2359hrs on the 30th October 2020.  You must have made a PAYE RTI submission during or before 30th October for any individual you intend to furlough.
  • Staff do not have to have been previously furloughed, so this is open to new entrants!
  • You can furlough an employee for the entirety of their contractual hours or for just some of their contractual hours, so effectively they can work some hours for you and be furloughed for the remainder.
  • Government will pay 80% of the non worked hours up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.  That £2,500 will be proportionate for individuals who remain working part time.
  • Employers will have to pay NI and pension contributions on the full amount.  Employers will not be able to recoup that money so that is the same as it was in August 2020.
  • Employees who are absent due to sickness will get SSP in the usual way.
  • You will be able to top up salary to 100% if you wish to do so.  In any event, you will need to top up to 100% for anyone on annual leave – so watch out for the Xmas and New Year period.

Please remember to get employees who are to be furloughed to sign a contract variation form.  This is because they will be receiving a reduced salary.

The term “shielding” has disappeared from the lexicon and we now have “clinically extremely vulnerable” and “clinically vulnerable”.  There will also be folk who are isolating either because they have had a positive Covid test, or they have been in contact with someone who has had a positive Covid test.  To that mix must be added children who are unable to attend school because someone in their bubble has had a positive Covid test.  Once I have worked out exactly what each of those groups should be paid, I will post a further missive – it is entirely possible that the answers will not become apparent until the full Regulations are published on 10th November.

Finally, if you are furloughing staff full time please remember to keep in touch with them.  I have heard of employees who have been furloughed for months and have had no contact from their employer.  That is really very bad form and not conducive to employee engagement when you are finally able to return them to the workplace.