Does an employer that uses the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme to pay 80% of furloughed employees' wages have to make up the difference so they are paid in full?

Employers that furlough employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are obliged to pay the employees the lower of 80% of their monthly earnings or £2,500 per month. The employer can claim this back from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for claim periods from 1 November 2020 (the amount employers could claim was less during September and October 2020).

Employers can top up an employee's salary beyond this. The employer will need the employee's agreement to a temporary variation in contract if it does not make up the difference to pay them in full, unless it has a contractual right to lay them off on reduced pay.