The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak announced this morning that the Government's furlough scheme will be extended beyond the previous extension (2nd December) and will now continue until 31st March 2021.

The Chancellor stated that furloughed workers whose employers have been forced to close will continue to receive 80% of their salaries for hours not worked up to £2,500 per month until March.

The Government will review the policy in January and determine whether economic circumstances have improved sufficiently to ask employers to contribute more and enable the Government contribution to reduce, as was the case from 1st August of last year.

As with previous announcements relating to support for employers, the detail will be announced in due course. It is expected that full guidance will be published on 10 November 2020. At the present time we can say that employers can claim under the scheme regardless of whether the employer or the relevant employees previously used the scheme.

The flexible furlough will be available to employers and, accordingly, employees can continue to do some work.

Employees can be furloughed (although there is no requirement to do so) if they are shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay at home with someone who is shielding).

Importantly, any employee who was employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 and was subsequently made redundant or stopped working for their employer after that date can be re-employed and a claim made under the scheme.

The other Government support schemes (the Job Support Scheme and the Job Retention Bonus) have been put on hold for now.

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