The government has announced that the furlough, or job retention scheme is to be extended until 31 March 2021.

Originally the furlough scheme was scheduled to end on 31 October, but the second national lockdown led to an initial extension to 2 December. However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has now revealed that the scheme will remain in place until spring 2021 with employees receiving 80% of their salary for hours not worked.

Employers are not required to contribute to the wages of furloughed staff and are not obliged to top salaries up to 100%, but they must cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for hours not worked.

The aim is to provide businesses and employees with a level of certainty over the winter in the hope that jobs will be protected.

For information about whether employees who are serving their notice can be furloughed, check out our blog on the subject.

The next self-employed income support grant will also increase from 55% to 80% of average profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

Meanwhile, businesses forced to close as a result of lockdown may be eligible for cash grants of up to £3,000 per month.

More information about support available to businesses and employers can be found on the government’s website.

If you require advice on any aspect of employment law, contact us on 01782 205000, email enquiry@beswicks.com or check out our low-cost fixed-fee HR service.