Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has extended the furlough scheme for one month until the end of April 2021.
This means that the Government will continue to pay 80% of the salary of employees for the hours not worked until the end of April next year.
According to Gov.uk, employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance (NI) contributions and pensions for hours worked, as well as NI contributions and pensions for hours not worked.
While news of the extension of the furlough scheme was welcomed by the CIPD, the professional body said that the Government needs to lay out plans for job support beyond April.
Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD, explained: “The extension of the furlough scheme until the end of April is welcome, but the Government should set out early in the New Year its plans for job support beyond this to provide employers with the confidence to continue to protect jobs through early summer 2021.
“Setting out a clear plan to extend the [Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme] to the end of June would boost business confidence and mitigate the numerous uncertainties firms are facing as a result of the pandemic, as well as any challenges they may face arising from the end of the Brexit transition and over the timing of economic recovery.
“We also believe there is a strong case for the next phase of the CJRS to be linked to support to enable firms to train staff who are fully furloughed or working reduced hours – and to provide funded outplacement skills development support to any worker made redundant,” Cheese added.
In addition to this, the Chancellor confirmed that he would be extending the Government-guaranteed COVID-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.
Sunak explained: “Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.
“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.”
Sunak confirmed that the Budget will be on March 3, 2021, and this will set out the next phase of the plan to protect jobs and tackle coronavirus.