Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: frequently asked questions

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Following a huge take-up following its launch in April, changes to the Scheme to make it more flexible have been recently announced, taking effect in July. From August, employers will have to start contributing to the cost of the Scheme.

What is the current position?

The first announcement of the Scheme on Friday 20 March explained that the Government would guarantee 80% of the wage costs of any employees “furloughed” as a result of the pandemic, subject to a cap of £2500 per month.  This payment would apply to any employees furloughed from 1 March onwards.  The Scheme, which in its original form had a provisional cut-off date of 31 May, has now been extended to the end of October.

A new, more flexible, version of the Scheme will launch in July, and employers will be asked to make contributions towards the wages costs of furloughed staff starting in August.  Employees will continue to receive 80% of their normal wages for the time they spend furloughed until the Scheme ends.

Government guidance on the Scheme was first published on 26 March and has been revised and expanded on numerous occasions since.  This needs to be read together with the current Treasury Direction, originally published in April, but which has since been re-issued.

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