Flexible Furlough Update

18 June 2020

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We are pleased to share the following article which has been prepared by JMW Solicitors.

Key Update for Employers: More Details About Flexible Furloughing Released

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has now been in place for several months allowing employers to furlough employees, subject to them meeting certain conditions. As you may have seen, on 12th June 2020, the Government released details of a more flexible version of the scheme, which is due to start on 1st July 2020.

From 1st‌‌ July 2020, employers will be given the flexibility to bring employees back to work who have previously been furloughed in accordance with the CJRS requirements. Those employees will be able to work part time but their employer will still be able to claim a CJRS grant for any normal hours not worked by the employee. Read on for more details about these changes and what to expect! 

The CJRS will close to new members on 30th June 2020 and will then finish completely on 31st October 2020.

Changes

Here are some examples of key changes to be aware of:

  • Under the more flexible version of the CJRS, part time work can take place and employers will be responsible for paying their employees’ wages for the time when they actually work. Employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and also confirm the actual hours worked by the employee. Employers can then claim a grant for the hours the employee is not working, calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Details of the record keeping requirements that employers will need to meet are set out in a guide which can be accessed here;
  • As well as some work by the employee being permitted under the CJRS from 1st July 2020, another significant change is that the minimum requirement of three consecutive weeks for furloughing an employee will  be removed from  1st July 2020.  Although, any claim through the CJRS portal must normally be in respect of a minimum one week period (discussed further below); 
  • After 1st July 2020, claim periods must start and end within the same calendar month and must be at least 7 days unless an employer is claiming for the first few days or the last few days in a month. You can only claim for a period of fewer than 7 days if the period you are claiming for includes either the first or last day of the calendar month, and you have already claimed for the period ending immediately before it. In summary, the critical point to note is that you cannot make claims that cross calendar months; and
  • The government’s contribution to furlough pay will gradually reduce over time under the CJRS, with employers being expected to contribute to certain furlough pay amounts from 1st August 2020 (with such employer contributions increasing as each month passes thereafter).  Further details about the changes and contributions required can be found in the government guidance which can be accessed here.

Employers aren’t obliged to require employees to carry out work in order to continue to claim under the CJRS and can continue to fully furlough employees until 31st October 2020 if preferred. In those circumstances, the employees cannot undertake any work for that employer during the time that they are fully furloughed (save for limited exceptions including for example certain training or volunteering).

Further Information and Support for Employers

If you require advice or support in connection with the changes to the CJRS, revisiting furloughing agreements with your employees (if needed) or return to work issues feel free to contact JMW Solicitors on 0345 646 0342. 

In addition, you may find the following documents helpful:

  • A new guidance document setting out the steps for employers to take before calculating a claim has been released and can be accessed here. This sets out information on how to decide the length of the claim period, what to include when calculating wages and working out employees’ usual and furloughed hours for example.
  • A second new guidance document explaining how much you can claim using the CJRS for part-furloughed workforce can be accessed here.
  • A third new guidance document providing an example calculation for someone who is part-furloughed can be accessed here.
  • A further new document summarising the changes from 1st July 2020, including the tapering of the government grant, can be accessed here.

 

This note is for general guidance only and should not be used for any other purpose. It does not constitute and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

JMW Solicitors is a Limited Liability Partnership. The copyright in this note is owned by JMW. Any reproduction of this article should be credited to JMW. All rights reserved.

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