Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the government’s furlough scheme will be extended by one month.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which sees the government pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500, will now continue until the end of June.
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It was originally open for three months and backdated from March 1 to May. The extension of the scheme reflects the continued social distancing measures happening across the UK.
Sunak said: ‘We’ve taken unprecedented action to support jobs and businesses through this period of uncertainty, including the UK-wide Job Retention Scheme. With the extension of the coronavirus lockdown measures yesterday, it is the right decision to extend the furlough scheme for a month to the end of June to provide clarity.
‘It is vital for people’s livelihoods that the UK economy gets up and running again when it is safe to do so, and I will continue to review the scheme so it is supporting our recovery.’
The scheme will continue to be monitored in hopes that it will help employees and businesses get back to work as soon as current lockdown measures come to an end, Sunak added. Future decisions about the plan will depend on the government’s future steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Earlier this week, Sunak confirmed that the eligibility date for the furlough scheme had also been extended, meaning thousands more employees could access support.
Individuals originally had to be employed on February 28 to qualify, but now this has been extended to March 19, the day before the plan was announced.
To qualify, employees must have been on a company’s PAYE payroll before March 19, meaning they must have been notified to HMRC through an RTI submission notifying payment.
The UK’s social distancing restrictions were initially put in place for a period of three weeks on March 23, but this was extended for at least another three weeks on Thursday.
Speaking at the daily press conference, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab said the measures had been ‘successful’ in slowing down the spread of coronavirus and protecting the NHS from becoming overwhelmed with patients.
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