Next month marks the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The scheme, which launched in March 2020, saw the Government contribute towards the payment of up to 80% of the wages of employees who had been placed on furlough. The aim of the scheme was to ease the financial strain of the wage bill on businesses ‘severely affected’ by the pandemic, in the hope that this would help businesses to continue trading, and so retain jobs and employment.
Over the last few months, the level of support provided by the Government has reduced, with employers being required to contribute national insurance contributions from August, and then contribute towards wages on a sliding scale in September and October.
For some, the end of the furlough scheme may result in a return to work either from full or flexible furlough. It is hoped that this will be the case for many. However, the TUC have warned that the end of the furlough scheme could result in a ‘tsunami of job losses’.
As the CJRS ends, if your employment also ends, then you should check that your employer has followed the correct procedures to terminate your employment, and that you have received all relevant payments that you are entitled to.
Some employees may be asked to sign a Settlement Agreement at the end of their employment. You should receive an enhanced payment for doing so, and a contribution towards your legal fees for advice on the terms and effects of the Settlement Agreement (which is required to make the Settlement Agreement legally binding). In return you will be expected to confirm that you will take no action against your employer for any issues relating to your employment.
Our employment law team can provide advice on any issues arising from the termination of your employment, including Settlement Agreements.
Unfortunately, the furlough scheme has been open to abuse, and HMRC has established a taskforce to tackle furlough scheme abuse. Employees have been encouraged to report any instances of furlough abuse. If you would like advice on doing so then please contact our employment law team for advice on whistleblowing.
if you have any questions about the CJRS and the end of furlough, or any other employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact Sara Devennie or Anna Harbinson in our Employment Law Team on 0191 232 3048.