Furlough: The key changes to the extended scheme
At the end of last year, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the extension of the furlough scheme, or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), until 30 April 2021.
The scheme will continue to contribute 80 per cent towards employees’ wages, and despite similarities to the initial scheme announced at the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020, the CJRS now has further restrictions placed upon it.
Employees serving a notice period
Under the rules of the first iteration of the CJRS, there were no restrictions regarding furloughed employees who were also serving their notice period, and they could be subject to redundancy whilst on the scheme.
However, now, employers cannot claim furlough grants for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods from 1 December 2020 – whether that is for notice of redundancy, resignation or retirement.
Employees on annual leave
The rules on taking annual leave while furloughed remain the same. Employers must pay their employees in full for this time.
Employees on Statutory Maternity Leave
Employees on maternity leave who wished to return early while the first CJRS was running were initially placed on furlough, providing they gave at least eight weeks’ notice of their requested return. Of course, employers had to wait the eight weeks until furloughing their staff member.
Under the extended CJRS, the notice period could be shorter in certain circumstances.
Employees on sick leave
The Government guidance states that employers can decide whether to keep an employee on the furlough scheme or put them on sick leave, in the event of illness.
If the choice is sick leave, employers must pay their employee the necessary Statutory Sick Pay, if they qualify.
At AGS HR, we can advise on all aspects of the challenges you may face, such as returning to work, reviewing employment contracts and redundancy considerations, with easy to use documents and practical advice.
For help and advice, contact our expert team at AGS HR Solutions today to discuss your requirements.