What are the August changes to the furlough scheme? Including how much employers have to pay

FURLOUGH has changed once again from August 1 as the government winds down the coronavirus support scheme.

So what exactly are the changes and how much will employers be expected to pay?

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Over 9.5million workers have been placed on the furlough scheme, which sees the government cover 80 per cent of wages of up to £2,500 a month.

The initiative closed to new workers in June but those still on it can continue to get government funding until October 31.

But in order to get this support from next month, your employer will have to start contributing too.

It won't affect what a furloughed worker is paid but it has led to fears that employers will start making hundreds of thousands of Brits redundant if businesses can't afford payments.

The government hopes to combat this by paying employers who take back furloughed workers and employ them continuously through to January 31, 2021 a £1,000-bonus.

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.

Each worker must be paid at least £520 per month on average, and bosses will get the cash bonus from February 2021.

The furlough scheme has been tweaked this month to allow employees to start working part-time for bosses.

Up until July 1, you couldn't work for your employer while furloughed – and you had to be on the system for at least three weeks at a time if you were re-employed in between.

But further changes are also afoot – here's what you need to know.

Changes from August 1

The government will continue to pay 80 per cent of staff wages up to the £2,500 a month cap.

However, businesses will need to start picking up the furlough bill on August 1 when they have to pay national insurance (NI) and pension contributions. 

This represents about 5 per cent of employment costs per worker for businesses. 

For example, if your boss typically pays £2,200 towards your salary including NI and pension contributions, they'll have to start paying £110 from August.

Employers are also being encouraged to re-open work places if this can be done in a safe manner from August 1.

Changes from September

From September, the government's contribution will fall to 70 per cent of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 a month.

This means employers will have to pay 10 per cent of salaries – up to £312.50 – to make up 80 per cent of wages in total up to a cap of £2,500.

Employers will also need to continue to pay NI and pension contributions. 

For the average claim, this represents 14 per cent of the employment costs.

Changes from October

In October, the government's contribution will fall again to 60 per cent of wages up to a cap of £1,875 a month.

This will see businesses pay 20 per cent of salaries – up to £625 – to make up 80 per cent in total, up to a cap of £2,500.

In addition, employers will need to continue to make NI and pension contributions. 

It means employers footing the bill for 23 per cent of employment costs.

The scheme will then end on October 31.

Last week, manufacturers begged for furlough to be extended by six months and warned of massive job losses "like in the 1980’s".

Martin Lewis has also helped to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness for the millions of people excluded from coronavirus financial support.

Unemployment in the UK could TREBLE this year to 3million, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has predicted.

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