The Chancellor confirmed in a statement yesterday that the furlough scheme will be extended for an additional 4 months to October 2020.

There will be no changes to the scheme until the end of July.

As of August, for all sectors and regions, furloughed workers will continue to receive 80% of their current salary up to £2,500, although some of that contribution will fall on employers. Employers will also be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time. We expect further details to be announced towards the end of May.

Until that flexibility comes in, employers must abide by the rules of the Job Retention Scheme and resist any temptation to ask a furloughed employee to ‘help’ with any work. This would be a breach of the Job Retention Scheme and would amount to fraud if claiming for that employee.

Commenting on the extension, Christopher Wrighton said: “This extension will be a huge relief to those on furlough and to their employers. We are seeing many of our clients benefit from the furlough scheme to protect jobs that would otherwise have been lost. The scheme is a significant financial commitment by the government, but the cost of unemployment would have been far greater had it not been implemented”.

Whilst we wait for details around the ability to ‘part furlough’ and support employees back to work part time, businesses can continue to use the next few weeks to establish the practicalities of resuming operations whilst gaining the confidence of their employees around workplace safety. The government has published ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines for 8 key workplaces to help UK employers to operate as safely as possible. These can be accessed via the links below. Note: You may have to reference more than one guide.

In the meantime, we are here to help you through this transition period and to continue to answer any questions around the Job Retention Scheme. Please contact Christopher Wrighton, your usual relationship practitioner or email us.

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