Furlough scheme extended: how long is the extension to the government’s Job Retention Scheme, what are the rules, and who is eligible?

As England braces for a new national lockdown, the government has extended the scheme

Friday, 6th November 2020, 8:12 am

The government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended.

The scheme includes furlough pay, with the government paying up to 80% of the current salary for hours not worked by employees during the lockdown and beyond.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Over the past eight months of this crisis we have helped millions of people to continue to provide for their families.

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"As restrictions get tougher, we are taking steps to provide further financial support to protect jobs and businesses. These changes will provide a vital safety net for people across the UK.”

Here is everything you need to know about it.

When is furlough being extended until?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson originally said the Government will extend furlough payments at 80% to December, for the duration of the new national lockdown measures.

He said: “We are going to extend the furlough system through November. The furlough scheme was a success in the spring and supported people in businesses in a critical time. We will not end it, we will extend furlough until December.”

The Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1 November, has been postponed as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended.

But now, Sunak has announced the government is going further so that support can be put in place for long enough to help businesses recover and get back on their feet.

Mr Sunak told the Commons: "We can announce today that the furlough scheme will not be extended for one month, it will be extended until the end of March. The Government will continue to help pay people's wages up to 80% of the normal amount. All employers will have to pay for hours not worked is the cost of employer NICs and pension contributions.

"We will review the policy in January to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more."

What are the rules of furlough?

Furlough is payable at 80% up to a maximum of £2,500 for the duration of the package of tougher national measures. The support will be available across the UK.

Business premises forced to close in England will also receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under a Local Restrictions Support Grant.

A further £1.1 billion will be given to local authorities – distributed on the basis of £20 per head – for one-off payments to support businesses.

Furlough will also be open to new entrants for the first time since July 1.

For more information, head to the government’s website