Workers across the United Kingdom will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme into Spring 2021, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today, 5 November.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.
Similarly, support for workers through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.
Sunak said: “I’ve always said I would do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK – and that has meant adapting our support as the path of the virus has changed.
“It’s clear the economic effects are much longer lasting for businesses than the duration of any restrictions, which is why we have decided to go further with our support.
“Extending furlough and increasing our support for the self-employed will protect millions of jobs and give people and businesses the certainty they need over what will be a difficult winter.”
The Chancellor also announced today an increase in the upfront guarantee of funding for the devolved administrations from £14bn to £16bn. This uplift is aimed at continuing to support workers, business and individuals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The furlough scheme was initially extended until 2 December. But the government now intends that support can be put in place for long enough to help businesses recover and get back on their feet.
There are currently no employer contributions to wages for hours not worked. Employers will only be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for hours not worked. For an average claim, this accounts for 5% of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month. The CJRS extension will be reviewed in January to examine whether the economic circumstances are improving enough for employers to be asked to increase contributions.