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6 things employers need to know about flexible furlough

Everything you need to know about the new ‘flexible furlough’ rules

The government published more guidance on Friday 12 June on changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which now includes information about how flexible furlough will work from 1 July 2020.

 

What is flexible furlough?

From 1 July it will be possible for your employees to work on some days (or parts of days) and be furloughed for others. For example, an employee who previously worked 9 – 5, Mondays – Fridays, could work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays but be furloughed on Thursdays and Fridays.

 

Key information

  • The CJRS scheme closed to new entrants on 10 June. If you’ve not previously used the scheme, you won’t be able to now furlough any new employees or use flexible furlough. The ONLY exception to this is if your employee was on family leave (i.e. maternity or paternity leave) after 10 June and is now being furloughed for the first time. If you have not used the scheme at all, this won’t apply to you.
  • There are no restrictions on employees working patterns
  • There are no minimum limits on the amount of time that flexible furlough must last
  • Furlough no longer has to last for 3 weeks, for example an employee could now work for two weeks and be furloughed for 2 weeks
  • If an employee had been on furlough for less than 3 weeks on 1 July, they cannot move to flexible furlough until after the end of that 3 week period.

 

Claiming for flexible furlough

Unfortunately, calculating the grant for flexible furlough is quite complicated. Whilst the concept of flexible furlough will be exceptionally helpful to businesses, the calculations and rules are quite complex and might prove to be a challenge for some.

You’ll need to know the following to do the actual calculation:

  • Whether you were previously calculating the furlough grant for a given employee on the basis that he/she was “fixed salary” or “variable pay”;
  • Your employee’s previous “usual” hours; and
  • Your employee’s actual hours worked.

We recommend looking at the government worked examples available here.

 

What do I need to do to place an employee of flexible furlough?

You will need to put a new flexible furlough agreement in place with the employees you want to put on flexible furlough and this should be in writing.

Your employees on furlough are still not allowed to do any work for you.

 

Record keeping

You will need to keep a record for six years of the usual hours (including your calculation for ‘usual hours’) worked by each of your employees as well as the actual hours worked from 1 July.

Do I have to use flexible furlough?

Just because flexible furlough is an option, doesn’t mean that you have to use it. You can still use the original approach to furlough with no part time hours or leave employees on furlough.

 


Further resources

To read the full government guidance, click here.

To read more about the changes coming from 1 August, click here.

 

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