Lockdown Number 2 & Extension to Furlough

Well here we are again – but it’s different this time.  Read on to understand what lockdown version 2 means for businesses and employees in England.

With effect the 5th November 2020 in England we have all been told to stay at home for the next four weeks as much as possible in a bid to reverse the spread of Covid-19.

We are allowed to go to work if we can’t reasonably work from home (who’s version of reasonable is acceptable here?) and this time – different from last time, schools, colleges and universities are to remain open.

Hairdressers, gyms, leisure venues, tattoo parlours and beauty salons (many of which are the cleanest places we’ve all probably ever been to!) have all been told to close for the duration whilst pubs and restaurant premises must close but they can offer takeaway and delivery and non essential shops (controversial again when one person’s essential could be someone else’s luxury?) have been told to close as well unless they can offer click and collect.

In an attempt to protect the livelihoods of millions of English citizens, the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the Furlough scheme – will remain open until March 2021.  The furlough scheme subsidises the wages of people who cannot do their jobs, either because their workplace is closed, or because there is no longer enough work for them. The extended Job Retention Scheme will operate as the previous scheme did, with businesses being paid upfront to cover wages costs.  The CJRS is being extended until the end of March, the level of the grant will mirror levels available under the CJRS in August, so the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month. As under the current CJRS, flexible furloughing will be allowed in addition to full-time furloughing.

Mr Sunak also announced billions of pounds of other support for the economy, including more money for self-employed people with the government offering a third grant which will cover a 3 month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. This is an increase from the previously announced amount of 55%.

Many are still waiting for the help for Company Directors…I have a feeling we’ll be waiting a while…!

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) has been postponed until the end of the extended furlough scheme.

We are no longer allowed to mix indoors with anyone not in our household or support bubble, however, you are allowed to take unlimited outdoor exercise or meet up with one other person outdoors.

Boris Johnson has insisted this lockdown is time-limited and will not last longer than four weeks, however, it is widely recognised that if infection rates do not reduce to an acceptable level then the lockdown could be extended.

We all need to do our part and we will get through this period of uncertainty.  We have done it before – we can do it again.

If you are managing a team or a business and you’re not sure how these new restrictions impact your business and/or you need to ensure you have the paperwork matching the actions please do get in touch.  I am happy to have a chat and guide you with the best way forward.

We’re in this together.

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