COVID-19: Chancellor extends furlough scheme to March 2021

by | Nov 5, 2020 | Blog, COVID-19

Another day, another change to government support for employers, and another update from us to try to help reduce any confusion.

Earlier this morning, the Chancellor announced that he is extending the existing furlough scheme (the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) not just until the beginning of December, as was announced a few days ago, but now until the end of March 2021. He has also announced that it will be available to employers across the UK, not just in England.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus scheme will not now operate, and no payments under that scheme will be made in February as previously planned.

The recently announced Job Support Scheme is also now postponed.

We continue to believe the furlough scheme will operate much like before, and both full and flexible furlough are possible. Employers will be able to claim 80% for any hours not worked up to a cap of £2,500 a month, and will only need to pay pension and National Insurance contributions for now. This level of contribution will be reviewed in January, to see whether employers will be asked at that point to make more of a contribution to the costs of furloughing staff, presumably in a similar way to earlier this year.

On the face of it, this is good news for employers struggling with the impact of lockdown restrictions, and may allow a little more forward planning based on the scheme’s availability until the end of March 2021.

The detailed guidance is due to be published next Tuesday, at which point we will review it and make amendments to our existing guides and updates. The announcements so far say that retrospective furlough agreements will be possible, effective from 1st November 2020, provided they are in place before the 13th November 2020. Our Payroll team will be happy to help any clients wishing to do that.

We will share more details as and when we can, but in the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of our team on 01454 619900 or email

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