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Expert advice: Furlough scheme extended as England prepares for second national lockdown

Written by Peter Jones on .

Peter Jones

 

Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England from midnight tomorrow (Thursday, November 5) until Wednesday, December 2.

The new lockdown measures must pass a vote in parliament today (Wednesday) to be implemented. If approved, the following will apply:

People must stay home and can only leave home for specific purposes such as:

  • To shop for essential items such as food and medicine, to attend work if work cannot be done from home, to exercise outdoors or attend an outdoor public place (with the people they live with, alone, with a support bubble, or with 1 person from another household), to attend school, college or university, to access medical treatment, escape risk of harm (e.g domestic abuse), to provide care for a vulnerable person or access a support bubble. Children can move between households where parents live separately.
  • Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care.
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants will be legally required to close but can continue to provide takeaway.
  • Leisure and entertainment facilities including gyms, cinemas, galleries and museums will close.
  • Non-essential retail will also close but can provide delivery and click-and-collect services.
  • Personal care facilities such as hairdressers, tattoo parlours and spas will close.
  • Hotels and hostels can remain open for limited reasons such as to provide accommodation for those who have to travel for work.
  • Workmen and women can continue to enter premises. E.g plumbers, cleaners
  • Clinically vulnerable people have been advised not to attend the workplace.

A full list of business closures will be published by the government and set out in law. Until Thursday, local tiered restrictions remain in place.

Financial support – An extension to the furlough scheme

The Job Support Scheme due to start on 01 Nov, will now be replaced by an extension of the furlough scheme until December.

The furlough scheme will revert to the government contributions we saw in August. Employees will receive 80 percent of their current salary from the government for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Employers will be responsible for paying National Insurance and pension contributions.

If employers want to bring staff back to work on a part-time basis, flexible furlough will also be an option and a furlough grant will be available for unworked hours.

To be eligible for the furlough scheme employees need to have been on employers PAYE payroll before midnight on October 30.

If you had planned to place employees on the Job Support Scheme from November 1, you will now need to communicate the change to them regarding the extension of the furlough scheme.

Peter Jones runs the HR Dept in Swindon and Wiltshire www.hrdept.co.uk/offices/south-west/swindon