Rishi Sunak has confirmed in the budget that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended to the end of September 2021.
The CJRS which was due to close at the end of April 2021 has protected over 11 million jobs since it was launched in March 2020. This further extension should help to protect jobs over the coming months when restrictions are due to be lifted and the economy begins to reopen.
Key points to note on the CJRS from the Budget 2021 include:
• Employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary for hours not worked.
• There will be no employer contributions beyond National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pensions required in April, May and June 2021.
• From July, the government will introduce an employer contribution towards the cost of unworked hours of 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.
Rishi Sunak commented: “Our Covid support schemes have been a lifeline to millions, protecting jobs and incomes across the UK. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap for reopening, so it’s only right that we continue to help business and individuals through the challenging months ahead – and beyond”.
The Chancellor described the pandemic as an “acute” crisis, however he went on to say that he will use the “full measure of our fiscal firepower to protect the jobs of the British people”. With the latest ONS figures showing the UK unemployment rate at 5.1%, the extension of the CJRS to the end of September 2021 will be a lifeline for employees. With the clear four step strategy aiming for restrictions to be lifted by 21 June 2021, the extension of the CJRS to September 2021 allows a degree of flexibility for (1) for the opening up to be delayed if the data on covid cases requires this and (2) giving businesses breathing space to get up and running before furlough support comes to an end.