By now, a lot of us will be aware of the fact that furlough has once again been extended. The Chancellor announced in his March 2021 Budget that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended for a further 5 months and will now end on 30 September 2021.

For the many employers that have not yet been able to reopen, this will be the positive news that they have been eagerly awaiting and should help allow them to retain their employees.

So has anything changed?

The terms of the CRJS scheme are exactly as they were before, but for the fact that from July 2021 onwards, employers are required to make a contribution to the grant.

The facts:

1. Furloughed employees’ entitlement to receive 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month, is unchanged;
2. Employers will be eligible to claim a grant under the CJRS in respect of those 80% salary costs for the time that an employee is on furlough. Employers will otherwise pay employees as normal for the hours they actually work;
3. Employers will continue to be responsible for paying NICs and mandatory pension contributions on all payments to employees;
4. From 1 July 2021, the financial liabilities on employers will increase, with employers being required to contribute 10% towards their furloughed employees’ salary costs; and
5. From 1 August 2021 until 30 September 2021, the employer contribution will increase to 20%.

Extending the furlough scheme will help to keep millions more in work and will give employers the chance to take stock, plan and catch their breath pending the anticipated easing of lockdown restrictions over coming months.

Over the coming months, we now all wait for the long-awaited easing of lockdown restrictions- the anticipation of being able to re-open your business, to see friends and family again and enjoy the little things in life that we all, before COVID came into our lives, perhaps took for granted..