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  • Writer's pictureSusanne Joseph

It's the Final Furlough

The furlough scheme is scheduled to end on the 31st October 2020 but the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise and a full return to the workplace is simply not possible for the foreseeable future. At the very least the government anticipates that it could be another 6 months before we can see a return to the workplace for many workers. With furlough ending and redundancies rising on an unprecedented scale, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, threw employers (with viable businesses) a lifeline on 24 September 2020 when he announced the new Job Support scheme. The new scheme comes into force on 1st November 2020 and will end on the 30th of April 2021 and will be replacing the furlough scheme.

The new scheme was announced as part of the Winter Economy Plan in the House of Commons. The aim of this scheme is to help reduce the risk of redundancies and job losses for workers who are still unable to return to work fulltime. ‘Viable’ workers will be paid two-thirds of their wages if they cannot work their full contracted hours due to lack of demand.

Under the scheme, employers will pay their staff for the hours that they work. As for the hours they have not worked, the government will pay one third of the remaining salary and employers will also pay one third, the remaining third will be unpaid. This will mean workers should be paid up to 77% of their expected monthly income. The government’s contributions however will be limited to £697.92 per month.

To be eligible for the scheme these viable workers must have been on the employer’s payroll on or before 23 September 2020 with RTI (real time information) submissions having been made on or before that date and must already be working at least one third of their contracted hours. For example, if someone is contracted for 40 hours a week they should be consistently working 14 hours a week.

This begs the question of what businesses will be classed as viable and what support, if any, will be given to employees where their employers cannot consistently offer them a third of their hours of work a week. Additionally, this could now be the breaking point for businesses who have not yet been able to open, for example the nightclub industry, as it seems that those businesses are unlikely to qualify.

If you would like any advice on whether you would be eligible for the new Job Support scheme please do not hesitate to contact us on 01992 422128.

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