CJRS set to continue until March 2021
Justine Riccomini sets out the latest information relating to the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) on 1 November 2020.
Just when we thought the Job Support Scheme (JSS) had been finalised and was ready to begin as a replacement for the CJRS on 1 November – guidance having been issued by HMRC on this as late as Friday 30 October 2020 – on Saturday evening, just as everyone was settling down to watch Halloween ‘Strictly’, the Prime Minister announced that there was to be a further, month-long lockdown in England from 5 November and the effect in Scotland, Wales and NI is not known at the time of writing. This was followed up on 5 November by a further announcement that the CJRS was to be extended until the end of March 2021.
The first announcement followed a day of news speculation and rumours about what might happen, and within the body of the announcement came the news that the CJRS, which had been due to close on 31 October, would be extended UK-wide for a further month. On 5 November however all of this was superseded by the announcement that the CJRS would be extended to the end of March 2021.
The detail (or what we know so far)
What we know so far is that the CJRS will revert to the August 2020 iteration of the flexible CJRS – with the Government once again funding 80% of reference salaries capped at £2,500 a month, with employers paying the employer’s NICs and pension contributions. All UK employers will be eligible. We understand the 80% figure will not change during this time.
Guidance and Treasury Directions
The relevant guidance and Directions will be issued as soon as possible.
What of the JSS?
The announcement made confirms that the Job Support Scheme will remain in the background until the CJRS finishes. This was anticipated to be on 2 December. Thereafter, the Job Support Scheme was to run in its place. However due to the emergent nature of the pandemic and the announcement made on 5 November it is not yet clear whether the JSS will be utilized at all.
Employers and agents are strongly advised to maintain a watching brief on events as they unfold. ICAS will provide updates as and when the information is released.