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. 

For help and advice on matters relating to employment law, contact Joanna Alexiou at Mackrell.Solicitors today.

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Joanna Alexiou

Joanna Alexiou

Associate Solicitor at Mackrell.Solicitors
Joanna joined the firm’s Employment Law team in February 2020 having previously worked at another prominent firm of solicitors in the heart of London. Joanna has worked with clients from the finance, technology, arts and culture, marketing, charity and food and drink sectors.