The flexible furlough scheme
As an employer, may I put an employee on “flexible furlough” through the Government’s updated scheme and how does this work?
The first thing to know is that it’s now too late to put somebody on furlough for the first time. The closing date was 10 June*……
……. UNLESS your employee is a parent returning to work after statutory maternity or parental leave. Then they remain eligible for furlough even if they’re being furloughed for the first time after 10 June. The Government advice is that this also applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave and parental bereavement leave. See the link below:
If I have previously put my employees on furlough before 10 June, what options are open to me now?
If your employee is, or has previously been, on furlough, you are eligible to continue until the Scheme closes on 31 October 2020. But see Odin’s Warning about written agreement later in our Blog:
Full details of the flexible furlough scheme, effective from 1 July, are still pending.
However, what we do know is that employers may now agree part-time furlough arrangements with affected employees (previous furlough guidance was that employees had be furloughed for a minimum period and were not permitted to carry out any work for the benefit of their employer).
Odin HR’s Note:
Any flexible furlough period will have to be for at least one week (from the previous minimum of three weeks). That minimum aside (in order for the employer to claim costs under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme “CJRS”), the period can last for any amount of time.
Also, employers will have to pay employees in full for the hours that they do work for the business.
For employees who have previously been furloughed and on the flexible furlough scheme, there is a “tapering scheme” over the next few months. Please see below the new employer pay and benefits obligations from 1 August 2020:
- From August: employers can continue to claim 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. However, employers will need to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
- From September: employers can claim 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. However, employers will need to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions as well as 10% of wages to make up the 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
- From October: employers can claim 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875. However, employers will need to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions as well as 20% of wages to make up the 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.
The CJRS is currently planned to close on 31 October 2020.
For further local legal information, see https://www.greenwoodsgrm.co.uk/
The Government guidance indicates that “if you flexibly furlough employees, you’ll need to agree this with the employee (or reach collective agreement with a trade union) and keep a new written agreement that confirms the new furlough agreement.”
This indicates that it will not be enough to simply confirm in writing to employees that they are on furlough – please seek further advice from Odin HR.
* From 1 July 2020, employers will only be able to furlough employees who have already been furloughed for the minimum period of three weeks. The last date on which an employer could furlough employees for the first time was therefore 10 June 2020. (See exceptions above.)