Furlough scheme comes to an end on 30 September 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – also known as the furlough scheme – aimed to help employers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to continue employing staff at a time when there was no work, or not enough work, for them. The scheme, first introduced in March 2020, and which was extended on a number of occasions, will now come to an end on 30 September 2021.

Latest official figures show that, as of 31 July, there were approximately 1.6 million people on furlough across the UK, 36,100 in Northern Ireland. This is the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

Under the scheme, employees received 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked. Up until June 2021, the Government paid the employees’ wages, while the employer was only liable for pension and National Insurance Contributions. From July 2021, this tapered with the Government paying 70% of wages, falling to 60% in August. The employer was liable for topping this up to 80%.

With the scheme ending on 30 September, employers now have until 14 October 2021 to claim for furlough days in September 2021, and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.

Employees urged to seek advice now

We are encouraging employees to seek advice now about what financial support they may be entitled to as the scheme draws to a close and your circumstances may be changing over the next weeks and months.

For parents who are looking forward to returning to work following time on furlough, they may be anticipating an increase in their registered childcare costs.

Others may find themselves in the difficult situation of being made redundant, or having their hours reduced, at the end of the furlough period.

Whatever the case, it is more important than ever, in these challenging times, to seek advice to ensure you don’t miss out on any financial support you may be entitled to.

Considerations for employers

This may also be a challenging time for employers, who are either making arrangements to bring staff back to work – whether from home, or from another place of work – or facing the difficulty of making redundancies.

We would encourage employers to talk to staff about their plans for the end of furlough as early as possible. In supporting staff, employers should consider:

  • Opportunities for flexible working arrangements
  • Making reasonable adjustments
  • Offering training or refresher courses
  • Employee wellbeing including mental health, financial health and well-being.

Employers For Childcare can offer free virtual advice and guidance sessions for your staff to help them identify what financial support they are entitled to, whether they are returning to work or are facing redundancy.

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Anyone who is self-employed, and has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, also has until 30 September 2021 to submit their application for the fifth and final grant under the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.   This grant covers the period July to September.  Please click here for our previous article on this for more information.

Contact us for advice

If you would like further information or advice on anything covered in this article, or if you wish to find out what financial support you may be entitled to, please contact our helpline on 028 9267 8200 and speak to our Family Benefits Advice Service for free, impartial and confidential advice or send an email to hello@employersforchildcare.org.