The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced on Tuesday 12th May 2020 that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain open to applications until 31st October 2020.
The scheme was due to end on 30th June 2020 and this will be welcomed by many businesses in the UK that may not open or be fully operational for months to come.
Under the current scheme, employees can receive up to 80% of their current salary subject to a maximum cap of £2,500 per month. There was no announcement to reduce the scheme percentages or the cap but this may change in the months ahead.
The scheme is still available to all UK businesses regardless of sector, but again to encourage certain sectors to bring staff back and to commence operations, this could be tweaked on a sector by sector basis to protect the most vulnerable sectors and businesses to allow for phasing in of businesses operations.
Also announced, from the start of August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. It has been mooted this could be up to 50%, but we will know more details in the forthcoming weeks. This would help many businesses that will have to reopen, but with social distancing measures in place, there will be reduced footfall and activity so there will be a need to bring some staff back part-time, but the measure should allow employees to remain employed until measures are relaxed further.
To date there are 7.5 million employees who have been furloughed by 935,000 employers. The total claimed under the scheme is currently £10.1billion and this is predicted to rise further.