The UK Chancellor has confirmed in the 2021 Budget that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be further extended until September 2021.
The furlough scheme has been subject to earlier extensions. Most recently, it had been scheduled to end in April, following a planned phase out as government contributions were set to decrease gradually in the same way as when the chancellor initially planned to phase out the scheme in October 2020.
The latest extension will now see the Government continue to cover 80 per cent of workers’ salaries for the hours they are not working, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, with employers only asked to pay pension and national insurance contributions.
Employers are still expected to pay workers normally for the hours worked.
However, from July 2021, employers will be expected to contribute 10 per cent of employees’ wages for the hours not worked, increasing to 20 per cent in August and September.
The move is intended to save thousands of viable roles, as widescale redundancies had been feared in advance of the scheme ending in April. The extension is hoped to provide much-needed time for the COVID vaccination programme to reach the working population and for other economic recovery schemes to take effect.
The Budget announcement saw a range of other economic plans introduced to help the UK economy through the sustained challenges presented by the COVID pandemic.