New, new Furlough – Job Support Scheme
On Thursday 24 September 2020 the Government announced its latest plan to protect jobs following further restrictions in the light of the resurgence of coronavirus cases.
The initial, extended, (flexible) furlough scheme is due to come to an end on 31 October 2020 and this will happen. The Government has been under pressure from unions and the business community to extend support as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has further reaching implications, particularly for certain sectors, than originally hoped. The result of this, is the new Job Support Scheme.
Here are the main points to note about the new scheme:
- Starts 1 November 2020.
- To be eligible, employees must have been on the employer’s Real Time Information submission on or before 23 September 2020.
- The scheme is open to all employees, including those not previously on furlough.
- Employees must work at least one-third (33%) of their normal hours, which will be paid for by the employer.
- For their hours not worked (up to 66%), the Government and employer will pay one-third each with the employee forgoing the remaining third (so, employees working 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their pay, subject to the cap below).
- Class 1 employer NICs and pension contributions are not coved and must be paid by the employer.
- The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month.
- Working patterns can vary but each short-term working arrangement must cover a minimum seven day period.
- All small and SMEs are eligible but larger employers will only be eligible if their turnover has fallen during the crisis.
- The scheme will run for six months.
- The employee must not be on redundancy notice.
This last point is of particular note and, unlike the furlough scheme, reinforces the premise that this new scheme is very much designed to assist employers to keep employees in employment rather than make them redundant.
Employers wishing to use the scheme will need to be mindful of how they discuss and record any arrangement with employees.
This is a brief, general overview so do not hesitate to contact our employment law/ HR specialist Rebecca Ryan (firstname.lastname@example.org; 01480 442040) if you require more tailored advice and support regarding a current issue or would like guidance about how to use and implement the above scheme.