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Kerry Eastman

HR Advisor - Uckfield

7th September 2021

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): when will the scheme end?

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): when will the scheme end?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has acted as something of a safety net over the last 16 months, allowing employers to retain employees who would otherwise have been dismissed as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to HMRC statistics, since the start of the scheme a total of 11.6 million jobs have been supported.

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions and the apparent success of the Government’s vaccination scheme, the CJRS was however, allocated an end date, 30 September 2021. The end of the CJRS will no doubt have a big impact on both employers and employees and is worth planning for now.

Grant Tapering (CJRS): a reminder

As a reminder, since 1 July 2021, HMRC’s contributions to employee wages under the CJRS has been gradually reducing, to account for increased business activity and the easing of lockdown restrictions. Between 1 August and 30 September 2021, employers can only claim 60% of employee wages (up to a maximum of £1,875.00 per month) for hours when an employee is furloughed. Employers must then cover the remaining 20%, to take the employee to 80% of wages (or more, depending on what has been agreed with the employee).

Employees: returning to work

Employees who have been furloughed for an extended period of time may have heightened anxiety about returning to work at or in advance of the conclusion of the CJRS, particularly if they’ve been shielding in light of a medical condition. It is therefore important that employers consistently engage and communicate with those who are expected to return following the end of the CJRS.

With that in mind, we’ve set out below some ‘top-tips’ for welcoming furloughed employees back to work:

  • meet with them prior to ‘the big return’ and make sure they’re aware of any workplace changes that have taken place in the interim;
  • ask if they would mind sharing their personal circumstances and whether they’ve changed at all, so you’re aware of any potential barriers relating to their return to work or any assistance or support they might require;
  • consider whether a hybrid working pattern might assist, whether only initially or on a long term basis;
  • ask whether they require any retraining on systems, workplace practices, etc, given the likelihood of skill fade in cases of lengthy furlough; and
  • ensure you circulate information regarding health and wellbeing and explain where help can be accessed (including details of your Employee Assistance Programme, if you have one).

Employees: when a return to work isn’t viable

If you’re in the unfortunate position of having to consider implementing redundancies due to the end of the CJRS, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us. Redundancy can be a tricky process and each situation is different, so it’s always worth having a discussion at an early stage.

Equally, if an employee who has been on furlough leave resists returning to work or doesn’t feel able to so do, please get in touch and we can discuss your options as an employer and the issues to be aware of, including health and safety concerns.

For more information on employment law issues and the impact of Covid-19 please contact Rix & Kay’s Employment Team or call T: 01825 744413.

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