The government has issued a new Treasury Direction formally extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (better known as the furlough scheme) until 30 April 2021.
It was expected that there would be a review of the terms of the furlough scheme in January, with employers taking on a higher financial burden; however, with the ongoing lockdown and its impact on the economy, the claim rate of 80% of wages for hours not worked (up to a maximum of £2,500 per month) remains unchanged.
With the furlough scheme now covering a period of 14 months from March 2020 to April 2021, the latest Treasury Direction clarifies that, where an employee has variable hours/pay, the relevant reference month for calculating the amount of a claim in March and April 2021 will be March and April 2019 – not 2020, when employees may possibly have already been furloughed and may have therefore received lower payments.
For employees on fixed hours and pay, the relevant reference date is still 19 March 2020 or, if not employed at that time, 30 October 2020.
It remains the case that employees who are serving notice (whether notice is given by the employer or the employee, and for whatever reason) cannot be placed on the furlough scheme.
The deadlines for making a claim under the scheme are:
- For February 2021: 15 March 2021
- For March 2021: 14 April 2021
- For April 2021: 14 May 2021
The deadlines for amending a claim under the scheme are:
- For February 2021: 29 March 2021
- For March 2021: 28 April 2021
- For April 2021: 28 May 2021
If you have any questions or need any advice about your obligations as an employer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our employment law team.