The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021, with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages of unworked hours. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, UK also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the move would give businesses “certainty into the New Year.”

These changes come ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3rd March 2021. This will deliver the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs, so the extensions to the business loan and furlough schemes enable businesses to plan with certainty and access support in the first few months of the New Year ahead of the further update on wider Covid-19 economic support.

The government will continue to pay up to 80% of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April, with a cap of £2,500 a month. Employers will only be required to pay the wages, National Insurance (NI) contributions and pensions for hours worked, as well as NI contributions and pensions for hours not worked. The eligibility criteria for the UK-wide scheme will remain unchanged and these changes will continue to apply to all devolved administrations.

So far, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) scheme has protected 9.6 million jobs across the UK with more than one million businesses accessing loans to help them through the crisis.