In March 2021 Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered one of the most anticipated budgets in living memory, setting out the government’s tax and spending plans for the year ahead in these unprecedented times. This has implications for employment law and businesses across the UK.

We have set out below a brief summary of the main points and what the budget means for employers:-

What does the employment law 2021 extension mean for Furlough?

The much lauded furlough scheme will continue to the end of September with employer contributions of 10% to the furlough pay from July increasing to 20% from August.

Workplace COVID testing

Rapid workplace testing for all employers registered with 50 or more staff will now be extended until the end of June. Employers are eligible to order free government testing kits. Employers with fewer than 50 employees should find out if they can get a lateral flow test from a test site instead.

Vaccine Guidance

Acas has published useful guidance on how to support staff in getting the coronavirus vaccine once it’s offered to them. We have received a lot of calls from employer clients on the issue of vaccines and whether staff can be ordered to have one. We have set out some brief employment law advice previously here.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage Increase

The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates will increase on 1‌‌ ‌April. In addition to the new rates, the age from which workers become eligible for the National Living Wage will be lowered. From 1‌‌ ‌April all workers aged 23 and over must be paid the National Living Wage or above.

Current Rates

25 and over 21 to 24 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021


£8.20 £6.45 £4.55


New Rates

23 and over 21 to 22 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021


£8.36 £6.56 £4.62


In line with employment law, employers should ensure that they are ready to make the necessary arrangements for their payroll arrangements.

Apprenticeships and Work Placements

The government has announced that employers who hire a new apprentice between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021 will receive £3,000 per new hire and the incentive payments for employers who provide trainees with work experience will also continue.

For more details regarding any of the matters regarding the employment law 2021 extension, please contact Lloyd Clarke in our Employment Team on 01206 239761.

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