On 12 June 2020, the Government updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”), including setting out more details on the flexible furlough scheme (which we previously updated you on here) and publishing a number of new guidance documents.
The details on the flexible furlough scheme are not included in one document but are spread throughout the various official guidance notes. This link takes you to the Government’s central CJRS hub from which you can navigate to relevant resources.
We have summarised the key updates below:
1. 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.
2. From 1 July 2020, employers will be able to use the new flexible furlough scheme, which can include part-time arrangements. The current minimum furlough period of three consecutive weeks will not apply to flexible furlough. Flexible furlough agreements can therefore last for any amount of time.
3. The updated guidance states 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 arrangement.” This is different to the pre 1 July requirement which simply required employers to confirm to employees in writing that they had been furloughed. It is not clear as yet whether this is an intentional difference, and we would urge employers to take advice if this is an issue.
4. The guidance confirms that employers will have to pay employees in full for hours worked and that CJRS grants will be available for normal hours not worked.
5. This new policy paper sets out how the CJRS grants will be tapered over the next few months:
— From 1 August, employers will have to pay employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions, with the CJRS still paying 80% of wages (capped at £2,500);
— From 1 September, employers will have to pay employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions as well as 10% of wages, with the CJRS paying 70% of wages (capped at £2,187.50);
— From 1 October, employers will have to pay employer National Insurance contributions and employer pension contributions as well as 20% of wages, with the CJRS paying 60% of wages (capped at £1,875).
6. A number of new guidance documents and example calculations have been issued, including:
— Steps to take before calculating your claim using the CJRS
— Calculate how much you can claim using the CJRS
— Example of how to calculate the amount you should claim for an employee who is flexibly furloughed
The employment issues at play at the moment remain numerous and complex and there is now a significant amount of official guidance for employers to follow.
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