“Flexible Furlough Scheme” – The Latest Updates

June 17, 2020

 

On 12 June, HMRC released further guidance in relation to the new “flexible furlough scheme”, which will allow furloughed staff to return to work on a part-time basis from 1 July 2020 until the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) comes to an end on 31 October 2020.

Last month it was already confirmed that 10 June 2020 was the last day an employee could be placed on furlough leave, as the CJRS will be closed to new entrants after 30 June 2020. However, it was later confirmed that the cut-off date would not apply to new parents whose family leave would end after 10 June 2020, meaning their employers were more likely to make them redundant if they could not be furloughed. The new parent exemption applies to any parent returning from family leave after the cut-off date, provided the employer used the CJRS for other eligible employees before 10 June 2020. 

Key guidance on the rules of flexible furlough leave is as follows:

  • Employers can decide how the time between work and furlough will be split.

  • Employers will need to get confirmation in writing from the employee that they agree to any new flexible furloughing arrangement.

  • From 1 July 2020, the minimum three-week period of furlough leave will no longer apply. There will be no minimum period of furlough leave required in order to apply for a grant under the CJRS. However, a claim can only be made for a minimum one-week period; for example, only four claims can be made per month, as opposed to 31 claims.

  • From 1 July 2020, employers will be able to claim a portion of the 80% salary claimable under the CJRS, in accordance with the hours the employee has not worked out of their “normal working hours”. The employer will be responsible for paying the employee in full for the hours they do work.

  • When calculating the “normal working hours” of employees with fixed hours and pay, an employer takes the number of hours worked in the pay period before 19 March 2020. For employees who work variable hours and receive variable pay an employer takes whichever is highest between:

    • the average number of numbers worked in the 2019 to 2020 tax year; or

    • the corresponding calendar period in the 2019 to 2020 tax year

  • HMRC has set out examples of how to calculate the pay for a flexibly furloughed employee in its guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/find-examples-to-help-you-work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages/example-of-a-full-calculation-for-an-employee-who-is-flexibly-furloughed.

It is important to remember that when the CJRS begins to be tapered from 1 August 2020 (see our previous article), employers will have to start making contributions to employees’ furlough pay under the scheme.

 

 

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