Halloween 2020 started with the horrifying rumour Boris Johnson would announce another lockdown some time that evening. The dreaded news did, after a torrent of excel charts, get announced that as expected and the UK would enter a second lockdown from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December. The only thing less terrifying than Mr Johnson's hair however was the welcomed news that the flexible furlough scheme would be extended to 30th November 2020 and would be greatly increased in contribution rates.
Guidance was released immediately, however as with all other emergency COVID19 measures the guidance suffers from gaps which will require clarification and filling.
Any business can claim the furlough funding as long as the employee had been on a payroll and been declared to HMRC on an RTI before midnight on Friday 30th October 2020. You do not have to have any staff receive furlough payments before in order to qualify.
Employers would be able to claim back from Government 80% of the usual unworked hours for any staff on furlough up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The calculation of unworked hours will broadly follow the existing scheme, however further clarification will be available soon.
Employers will only suffer the employers NIC and pension contributions on staff and maintaining them on payroll until January will secure the bonus of £1,000 per employee.
The system to claim will need updating and so employers will have to sit and wait for the launch date for the claims to be able to be submitted. Employers should be prepared that the monies for such claims will not be received until after the 30th November and may need to make other cash flow arrangements.