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On 31 October 2020, the day the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme (‘furlough’, or the ‘CJRS’) was due to end, the Prime Minister announced that it would be extended for a month to coincide with the introduction of a second lockdown in England. Under this lockdown extension (which we refer to as the ‘Lockdown Extension Scheme’), the Government has committed to funding the full 80% of employees’ pay (up to the applicable cap) for non-worked hours, with employers having to cover only the employer National Insurance and employer pension contributions. This is actually more generous for employers than the furlough scheme was in its final months, as the level of Government support had tapered down to 60% of employees’ pay by October, with employers having to fund the additional 20% themselves.The Job Support Scheme that was due to replace the furlough scheme from 1 November is being postponed and will come into effect when the Lockdown Extension Scheme ends, currently expected to be 2 December 2020. Given the last minute decision on the Lockdown Extension Scheme, some employers will have already written to their employees to put in place arrangements for them to move onto the Job Support Scheme and will now need to ‘reverse’ that process. Other employers, whether or not they had intended to make use of the Job Support Scheme, may now wish to place employees on furlough or extend previous furlough arrangements.Make UK has prepared a number of template letters for employers to use when seeking employees’ agreement to full or flexible furlough under the Lockdown Extension Scheme:
- Lockdown Extension Scheme full furlough letter – to place an employee on full furlough, where they were either on flexible furlough or working normally in the period immediately prior to the announcement of the Lockdown Extension Scheme.
- Lockdown Extension Scheme flexible furlough letter – to place an employee on flexible furlough, where they were either on full furlough or working normally in the period immediately prior to the announcement of the Lockdown Extension Scheme.
- Lockdown Extension Scheme short form letter extending furlough arrangement – to agree with an employee who was on full or flexible furlough immediately prior to the announcement of the Lockdown Extension Scheme that their furlough arrangement will continue on the same terms as before, although with an option to amend working hours for those on flexible furlough.
We will be producing some FAQs on the Lockdown Extension Scheme when further guidance becomes available. In the meantime, please see our FAQs on Furlough under the Revised Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for further information on the operation of furlough, as we anticipate that most details will remain the same under the Lockdown Extension Scheme.
Members can click here to download the above templates.