What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)?

Last updated: 05 Mar 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is a government wage support measure. It is designed to protect jobs in the wake of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support employers who are facing difficulties to continue paying wages rather than making people redundant.

It is open to all UK companies, including public sector and charitable sector employers.

What support is available via the CJRS?

Until 30 June, the CJRS will allow employers to reclaim up to 80% of the wage costs of ‘furloughed employees’ (i.e. employees that they can’t afford to pay because of the crisis), up to a cap of £2,500 per month per employee.

Employers can choose to ‘top up’ this amount to cover the remainder of normal wages and salaries, but don’t have to.

From 1 July until the scheme closes on 30 September, the grant to employers will gradually be tapered, and employers will have to contribute more to the wage costs of furloughed employees. During July, the grant will be capped at 70% of wage costs for hours not worked (up to a monthly cap of £2,187.50). In August and September, the cap will be reduced to 60% of wage costs (up to a cap of £1,875).

But, even though the grant to employers will be reduced, furloughed employees will still receive at least 80% of normal wages (up to the relevant cap), and potentially more if employers choose to top-up pay to 100%.

How long will the scheme run for?

The Job Retention Scheme (JRS) has been extended to run until the end of September 2021.

What does ‘flexible furlough’ mean?

Employers are now allowed to mix periods of furlough with periods of work. There is no minimum furlough period, and periods of work can be for any length of time on any work pattern. For example, if you normally work full-time, five days per week, you could be furloughed for three days and asked to work the other two days.

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