Guidance on the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was published last week and further amendments are expected. While there is lots of similarity to the previous furlough schemes, there are some new quirks. New wording has been

introduced on notice periods: “The government is reviewing whether employers should be eligible to claim for employees serving contractual or statutory notice periods and will change the approach for claim periods starting on or after December 1, with further guidance

Travlaw partner Ami Naru explains the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Another new quirk from December

to be published in late November.” This means the scheme will change

yet again from December 1 and be more akin to the Job Support Scheme (now withdrawn), where employees on notice were not eligible. This has a massive implication for employers who were considering putting employees back on the more generous extended CJRS because if they were thinking of making an employee redundant they must give notice before December 1. After

December 1, it will likely mean that, if an employer serves notice, the employee in question must be taken off the scheme.

is a list of participating companies. I presume this is intended as a means of auditing, as there were some instances of employers (though not in the travel industry, as far as I am aware) having employees work as normal and yet still claiming CJRS for these employees. Unlike the previous scheme that

expired on October 31, where the number of employees an employer could claim for was capped at the number claimed for previous to June, there is now no maximum number of employees an employer can claim for. The extended CJRS will run from

November 1 until March 31, 2021. For claim periods up to January

2021, the government will pay up to 80%

(£2,500 a month) for hours not worked. The percentage contribution from the government will be reviewed for February and March 2021 and may change. Employers don’t have to have claimed furlough before and can claim for employees who were employed on October 31, 2020. Flexi furlough will continue to

operate. Hours worked are paid as normal by the employer and furloughed hours are subject to the cap above. Employees can be furloughed (but

don’t have to be) if they are shielding or need to stay at home. Employees that were on the payroll on September 23 and who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer after that date can be re-employed and claimed for.

Abta reiterates calls for support

Travel Weekly reporters

Abta called on the government to save the industry from collapse as it reported jobs lost or at risk in the sector almost doubled in the three months to November. The association estimates the

number of jobs lost or at risk since the start of the pandemic rose from 90,000 in August to 164,000 this month. It said travel businesses “have been left wanting” while sectors such as hospitality have received government support. Abta pointed out the travel sector

has had no opportunity to recover, with more than a third of businesses (36%) yet to resume operations. However, it noted demand

remains strong, with a member survey suggesting bookings for next summer are about 45% of the normal level. Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer

said: “The travel industry has had no meaningful chance to recover – bookings have largely vanished, cancellations are common and the government has yet to deliver a testing framework. “The results are stark – job

losses mounting at an alarming rate and viable businesses closing their doors. But there is demand and we’re starting to see people book for summer 2021 – demonstrating the resilience of the market. “This will be boosted by news

of a vaccine, but a robust vaccine programme is many months away and the industry is struggling now.” Tanzer said: “It’s short-sighted

of the government to overlook the industry. We need the government to step in and support the industry now so it is ready to support the UK’s wider economic recovery.”

Mark Tanzer Abta called on the government to

renew the grant support for SMEs, introduce a testing regime “without delay”, and “fully regionalise the UK’s quarantine policy and approach to foreign travel advice”. The association also urged local

authorities in England to provide lockdown grants to travel firms and wrote to the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern

Ireland urging support for businesses. Support grants where local

restrictions are imposed are worth up to £3,000. Abta public affairs director Luke

Petherbridge said: “We believe our members have a very strong case for local-restrictions support grants and have written to local authorities making that argument on their behalf.”

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