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3 August 2020

Latest furlough scheme (CJRS) guidance

Read on for the latest updates around furlough, including flexible (part-time) furlough and the Job Retention Bonus, available from early 2021.

  1. The number of employees that you can claim for in any single claim period from 1 July 2020 must not exceed the maximum number of employees that you claimed for under any claim ending by 30 June.  For example, if you had previously submitted claims up to the end of June 2020 where the total number of employees furloughed was 50, this is now the maximum number of employees that you can now furlough in any single claim starting on or after 1 July (although there are some exceptions to this for employees returning from, for example, parental leave or who are a military reservist).

  2. The CJRS (furlough scheme) closed to new entrants from 10th June 2020.

  3. From 1st July, you can only continue to claim through the scheme if: (a) you have previously furloughed the employee for 3 consecutive weeks between March 1 and 30 June; and (b) you submitted your claim before 31 July.

  4. If you are putting employees on to Flexible (part-time) Furlough from 1 July 2020, you must keep a written record of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working), as well as the number of hours "usually" worked.  Once the usual hours of work have been calculated, the employer subtracts the number of hours actually worked by the employee under the Flexible Furlough Scheme.  The balance is the sum which can be claimed by the employer. You are able to bring your employees back to work for any amount of time and for any work pattern.

  5. It is recommended that this agreement is in writing and ideally there should be some form of a written response (for example an email or signed declaration) from your employee confirming their agreement to the hours that they will be working for your and the hours that they will remain furloughed.

  6. As previously, you should keep the written record of the agreement for six years.

  7. You can continue to fully furlough employees if you so wish (and with the employees’ consent). As previously, for employees continually furloughed (or for flexible furlough employees’ non-working hours), these individuals cannot undertake any work for you (or any other business associated with your organisation) during time that you record them as being on furlough - but, as previously, the employee can take part in training, carry out volunteer work or work for another employer (if contractually permitted to do so).

  8. Until 1 July 2020, an employee had to be furloughed for a minimum of three consecutive weeks. From 1 July, agreed flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time. Employees can enter into a flexible furlough agreement more than once.

  9. After 1 July, the employer cannot make claims that cross calendar months, so a separate claim for the period up to 30 June should have been made and within the same month thereafter.

  10. Although flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time, unless otherwise specified, the actual total period that you submit a claim for must be a minimum claim period of seven calendar days.

  11. If you plan to flexibly furlough your employees regularly, the arrangement should be drafted carefully in order to obtain the employee’s consent, without increasing the risk of any claim for constructive unfair dismissal. Should you decide to flexibly furlough your employees please contact me for the appropriate letter.

  12. Redundancy notice paid during furlough leave may be reclaimed by employers, but not pay in lieu of notice or statutory redundancy payments.

  13. From August, the level of government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. In August employers need to pay the employees NI and pension contributions (typically approximately 5% of wage costs) up to a cap of £2,500. From 1 September the employer will need to pay NI, pension and 10% of wage costs to top up to 80% (the Government pays 70% to a cap of £2,187.50) and from 1 October, this rises to NI, pension and 20% of wage costs to top up to 80% of pay (the Government pays 60% to a cap of £1,875).

  14. All elements of the Furlough scheme, both full and flexible, are set to end on 31 October 2020.

  15. Employers can claim for a one-off ‘Job Retention Bonus’ payment of £1,000 for every employee who has previously been furloughed under Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) if they remain continuously employed to the end of January 2021 and subject to certain conditions.

 

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