Furlough: Is furlough still 80% of wages? Will the scheme be extended?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is the Government’s furlough scheme, which was first announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak back in March 2020. The furlough scheme was recently extended until April 2021, to help support businesses through the next stage of the pandemic.

Is furlough still 80 percent of wages?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) pays 80 percent of an employee’s wages in its current format.

Through the scheme, the Government will pay 80 percent of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, capped at £2,500 per month.

Unlike when the scheme was first established, employers can now place staff on flexible furlough.

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The Government website explains: “All employers with a UK, Isle of Man or Channel Island bank account and UK PAYE schemes can claim the grant.

“You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before October 30, 2020 to claim.

“Employers can furlough employees for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for the hours not worked.

“You will need to pay for employer National Insurance contributions and pension costs.”

Coronavirus cases remain significantly high in the UK, but it is hoped widespread vaccine rollout will help keep virus transmission under control over the coming year.

Many have called for the Government to extend their support for businesses while lockdown measures remain in place.

More than one in eight UK workers were furloughed at the end of December, new figures have shown.

Nearly £6billion was claimed in the last two months of 2020, and Government figures show 13 percent of employments across the country were furloughed on December 31.

Charlie McCurdy, a researcher at the Resolution Foundation think tank, said: “The Job Retention Scheme has been a living standards lifeline for millions of workers, with three in 10 private sector workers furloughed at the peak of the first lockdown.

“And with the UK back in lockdown, over four million employees are likely to be on furlough right now.”

He added: “The winding up of the scheme in just three months’ time is expected to cause a fresh wave of unemployment.

“It’s vital therefore that the Chancellor ensures a flexible transition out of the scheme, in order to avoid millions of workers simply moving from furlough straight into unemployment.”

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