As you will have seen in recent announcements, the government is now:

  • Extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) until 31 March 2021.
  • Postponing the Job Support Scheme (JSS), possibly indefinitely.
  • Scrapping the Job Retention Bonus (JRB), but this will apparently be replaced by another “retention incentive at the appropriate time”.

Businesses that have spent the last few weeks preparing for the end of furlough, possibly bringing staff back to work, telling them all about the JSS or putting in place short-time working agreements, let alone banking on the JRB for a cash boost when most needed, are entitled to feel more than slightly irked at this new and unheralded change in approach by the government.

But, like most employers, they will also probably welcome this additional financial support for ongoing wage costs at a time when the economic forecast is looking increasingly grim. The good news at least is that the extended CJRS is not only more generous for employees but also less expensive for employers than the JSS it is replacing.

Our employment colleagues have produced a quick guide of how the extended scheme will work.