News

Flexible Furlough Scheme

June 17, 2020

Latest changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Summary

Under the flexible furlough scheme (FFS), from the 1st July furloughed employees can work for part of the week and be furloughed for the remainder.

There will be no minimum period for furlough from 1st July, though claims through HMRCs portal must cover a minimum period of a week (ie a maximum of 4 claims per month).

The last date to make a claim for periods of furlough up to 30th June will be 31st July.

Put at its most simple, employers can claim a pro-rata amount of 80% of salary, based on the proportion of ‘normal hours’ that haven’t been worked. Normal hours is assessed in a similar way to ‘normal remuneration’ – for those on fixed hours, you use the number of hours worked in the pay period before 19th March. For those on variable hours you use the higher of the average hours worked in the 2019 – 2020 tax year or the hours worked in the corresponding calendar period in 2019 – 2020. 

The calculations are looking set to be pretty complex and may have people using the acronym for the scheme more than once…

Who can you furlough?

Only employees who have had a complete 3 week period of furlough at any point between 1st March and 30th June 2020 are eligible for grants from 1st July (there are different rules for employees returning from statutory parental leave, see below)

Remember also:  “the number of [employees] you claim for in any single claim period starting from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending by 30 June.” (again, see below re parents returning from from statutory parental leave).

Any employee furloughed before 1st July must complete a full 3 week period of furlough, even if they have previously been furloughed for a full 3 week period in a separate period of furlough. So, if you ‘re-furlough’ an employee on 16th June, they have to remain on full furlough for at least 3 weeks before you can ask them to return to part-time work.

From 1st July, claims cannot cross calendar months, so in the above scenario you would need to make a separate claim for the period up to 30th June.

“If you flexibly furlough employees, you’ll need to agree this with the employee… and keep a new written agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement.”

  • You must keep records of how many hours the employee works and how many they are furloughed.
  • You must keep records for a minimum of five years.
  • You can continue to keep employees fully furloughed.
  • Employees cannot do any work for you during the periods they are recorded as being on furlough – this is unchanged from the original scheme – and they can still undertake training while furloughed.

For more guidance, visit gov.uk

Employees returning from statutory parental leave

Parents returning from statutory parental leave (ie maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave) after 10th June can be furloughed, even if they have not previously been furloughed, provided that:

  • You have previously submitted a claim for another employee for at least three weeks between 1st March and 30th June;
  • The employee you wish to furlough started the statutory leave before 10th June  and is returning from leave after 10th June; and
  • The employee was on your PAYE payroll on or before 19th March.

Any employee(s) returning from parental leave and being furloughed for the first time can be added to your previous maximum number furloughed when working out how many employees you can have furloughed from 1st July.

Click here for further details

Details of what & how you can claim

The detailed information about claims is spread over several pages:

For claim periods periods and how the rules around these are changing and details about how you calculate ‘normal’ pay and hours, including for those returning from statutory leave click here

For guidance on how to calculate claims, click here

Click here for a detailed worked example of  how to calculate a claim for a flexibly furloughed employee.

Changes to what you can claim

Remember also that from 1st August there are changes to what you can claim – you will no longer be able to reclaim employer NI or pension contributions. From 1st September the percentage of salary you can reclaim also starts to reduce, but you will still be required to pay furloughed employees at least 80% of normal salary.

Need help with any aspect of furlough, return to work or redundancy? Take a look at our Coronavirus Emergency HR Support Package or contact us for a free, confidential conversation or a no-obligation quote – call 01242 570161 or email [email protected]

Please note that the information in this article is for general guidance only, and is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice in any particular situation.