Furlough scheme to be extended until the end of April 2021

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The furlough scheme will be further extended until the end of April 2021, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced. The government will continue to pay 80% of wages until the end of the Scheme, overturning the previous plan to reduce this contribution at the end of January.

Employers will be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked. The eligibility criteria for the UK-wide Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain unchanged.

Businesses will also have continued access to support through the extension of the government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes until the end of March. These include the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which had all been due to close at the end of January.

The Chancellor stated that the measures are designed to protect jobs and businesses and confirmed that he will reveal the next phase of the plan to tackle the economic impact of the pandemic in the Budget to be held on 3 March.

The government has already announced that more support will be available beyond March, through a successor loan scheme. More details of the scheme are anticipated in the Budget.

As before, we strongly advise that you obtain your employees’ written agreement to any changes to their terms of employment. Please let us know if you have any queries or need any support.