Will the furlough scheme get extended again as Boris confirms lockdown until March 8?

THE furlough scheme is due to end in April – but will it be extended again?

In an announcement this afternoon, Boris Johnson confirmed schools will not reopen until at least March 8 and has extended lockdown for another three weeks.

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But what does it mean for the millions of workers who are still furloughed from their job?

A staggering 8.9million people were on furlough at the height of the pandemic.

It came as:

  • Priti Patel is expected to set out plans for quarantine hotels today – forcing anyone travelling back from hotspots to stay in a hotel for ten days
  • But only high-risk countries and those with new variants are expected to be on the list – giving hopes to summer hols in Europe
  • Boris Johnson is set to reveal a route out of lockdown in February
  • Parents are facing a "real danger" kids could be learning from home until the summer
  • The PM said he was "deeply sorry" for the more than 100,000 deaths from coronavirus in the UK
  • The EU row over vaccines deepened last night as Hungary broke out to try and grab its own supplies from the UK and Russia

Will the furlough scheme be extended?

We don't know if the furlough scheme will be extended again.

The government has extended the scheme several times previously from its original deadline due to ongoing lockdowns.

At the moment, the furlough scheme is scheduled to end on April 30, 2021.

We've asked the Treasury if there are plans to extend furlough beyond this deadline and we'll update this article when we get a response.

Can I be made redundant if I’m on furlough?

EVEN though furlough is designed to keep workers employed, unfortunately it doesn’t protect you from being made redundant.

But it doesn't affect your redundancy pay rights if you are let go from your job amid the coronavirus crisis.

Your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.

You will be entitled to be consulted on the redundancy lay-off first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you've been working somewhere for at least two years.

How much you're entitled to depends on your age and length of service, although this is capped at 20 years. You'll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22,
  • One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41,
  • One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

Sadly, you won't be entitled to a payout if you've been working for your employer for fewer than two years.

There should be a period of collective consultation as well as time for individual ones if your employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or each other.

You are also entitled to appeal the decision by claiming unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.

If you're made redundant after your company has gone into administration you can claim redundancy pay via Gov.uk.

The financial help was first announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March 2020 for an initial three month period.

This means furlough was originally scheduled to finish in May 2020.

The deadline has been pushed back several times since, including until October 2020, then until December 2020.

Furlough was then meant to finish in March 2021, but this was extended by one extra month to the end of April 2021.

How much money do I get on furlough?

Employees can be furloughed full-time or part-time if they are unable to work their full contracted hours.

Workers on the scheme will get 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

You can work out how much you'll get by calculating 80% of your normal pay if you're furloughed full-time.

It's a little more complicated to work out your salary if you're furloughed part-time but we've put together this comprehensive guide on how to calculate it.

Businesses have to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions for hours not worked.

Employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages above the scheme grant at their own expense – but they don't have to.

Businesses are also being given until the end of March to access the emergency lending schemes such as coronavirus business interruption loans and bounce back loans.

Who is eligible for furlough?

Employees who can't work because their workplace has closed due to lockdown measures can be put on furlough.

Parents who can no longer work due to school closures can also be put on the scheme.

Employers don't have to put staff on the scheme though as it's up to their discretion.

At the moment, you need to have been on your employer's payroll by 11.59pm, October 30 2020, to be furloughed. 

Workers can be on any type of contract, meaning you could still be furloughed if you are part-time or on a contract.

You don't need to have been furloughed before to be eligible.

How do I claim furlough pay?

If you've been told by your boss that you're being furloughed, it is their responsibility to contact HMRC.

This means you shouldn't need to notify the government of any changes to your pay, as your employer will do this for you.

Employers submit information about furloughed workers through an online portal on the HMRC website.

The details they provide will include your salary, so the government can calculate how much furlough pay you should receive.

We explain six ways to get financial help during the coronavirus lockdown from furlough to sick pay.

Here are all the shops and businesses that can stay open during the third lockdown.

Meanwhile, non-essential shops, hairdressers and salons have been forced to shut.

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