Government’s Coronavirus Job retention Scheme extended to the end of June and further guidance issued. BLM comments

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Friday 17 April 2020 that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended by one month to the end of June to reflect the continuing lockdown and social distancing measures in place across the UK.

The scheme, which allows firms to furlough employees with the government paying cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500, was originally open for three months and backdated from the 1 March to the end of May.

However, the Chancellor said he would keep the scheme under review and extend it if necessary.

Julian Cox, head of employment law, London at BLM commented:

"The extension of the furlough scheme is a welcome move for employers across the country with lockdown continuing. This provides some reassurance at least for businesses and allows for the continued protection of millions of jobs at a time of great uncertainty."

The real question though given that social distancing measures of one sort or another seem likely to be in place for some time to come is how long are they sustainable for?"

Publication of new guidance

The government also published further guidance on the Coronavirus job retention scheme on Friday April 17 2020.

Julian commented:

"There are a number of take home points from the new guidance. Firstly, whilst clumsily worded, there no longer appears to be a need for employees to provide confirmation in writing of their consent to being furloughed. Guidance has also been expanded dealing with those on fixed term contracts. Essentially, fixed term contracts must be extended or renewed before they expire otherwise the employer cannot furlough. Finally clarification has been provided on holiday pay. According to the guidance if a furloughed employee takes holiday, the employer should pay their usual holiday pay in accordance with the Working Time Regulations."

Julian also noted:

"Looking at the notes to the latest guidance there are still some areas where guidance is missing from the guidance itself. Employers should therefore expect further guidance to be issued in the coming days."

 

 

Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.