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Flexible Furloughing – what you need to know!

16 Jun 2020

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any work pattern, while still being able to claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“the scheme”) for the hours not worked on a pro rata basis. Key points:

  • You can only claim for employees that have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March and 30 June 2020. The last day an employee could have started furlough for the first time was therefore 10 June.
  • There is an exception to the 10 June deadline for anyone returning from maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental or parental bereavement leave and these employees will be eligible for the scheme even if they had not been previously furloughed by 10 June, provided the employer has used the scheme for other eligible employees by that date.
  • Flexible furloughing must be agreed with employees and confirmed in writing (the confirmation must be retained for 5 years). Existing furlough letters/agreements will need to be reviewed if you are to flexibly furlough as previous letters should have made clear that the employee could not carry out any work whatsoever. We can provide an agreement for you.
  • Employees cannot do any work for you if they continue to be fully furloughed or during the hours that they are furloughed if they are flexibly furloughed. They can however continue to take part in training, volunteer for another employer or organisation and work for another employer (if permitted by you).
  • From 1 July, flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time and the minimum 3 week period no longer applies. It is worth bearing in mind however that the minimum period of time you can claim for under the scheme is 7 days. Also, any employee furloughed before 1 July must still be furloughed for at least 3 weeks.
  • Flexible furloughing agreements can be entered into more than once which means rotas can continue to be used provided the employees have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks between 1 March and 30 June 2020.
  • For flexible furloughing, you will need to provide and keep a record of the number of hours the employee usually works, the number of hours actually worked and the number of hours they were furloughed. You must keep a copy of all relevant pay roll records for 6 years. In respect of calculating the hours, there are different and complex calculations depending upon whether the employee has fixed or variable hours or variable pay.
  • By way of a reminder, employers have to contribute to their furloughed employee’s wages as of 1 August 2020. For our previous update on this, please click here.
  • If you are contemplating making redundancies, note redundancy payments can’t be claimed under the scheme although notice pay (but not payments in lieu of notice) and holiday pay can be claimed. For our previous update on holidays, please click here.
  • The maximum number of employees you can 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. For example, if you previously submitted three claims between 1 March 2020 and 30 June, in which the total number employees furloughed in each respective claim was 30, 20 and 50 employees, then the maximum number of employees you could furlough in any single claim starting on or after 1 July would be 50.

Please do not hesitate to contact the team for further advice. To see how we can help with ‘emerging from lockdown’ please click here.

Sarah Furness
T: 0191 227 6722
E: sarah.furness@hay-kilner.co.uk

Sarah Hall
T: 0191 227 6730
E: sarah.hall@hay-kilner.co.uk