Employment News

News added on 01.06.2020

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Coronavirus - flexible working

How will flexible furlough work in practice?

One of the major changes just announced to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is that, from 1 July 2020, you can ask furloughed employees to work on a part-time basis while remaining on furlough for the rest of the time. How will this work in practice?

The government originally planned for flexible furloughing to be introduced to the CJRS from 1 August, but it’s now been brought forward to 1 July, to help get employees back to work. Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how you should calculate claims will be published on 12 June, but what we know so far is:

  • you can agree with your furloughed employees the individual hours and shift patterns that they will work on their return, and there will be no minimum hours you must furlough staff for, so that you can decide on the best approach for your business
  • you will be responsible for paying employees’ wages at their usual pay rate for the hours that they do then actually work, subject to their employment contract, and you will also be responsible for paying the tax and NI due on those amounts
  • the CJRS grant will remain available for the employee’s remaining (furloughed) normal hours - this means that, subject to their agreement, you can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern whilst still being able to claim the CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked
  • to be eligible for the CJRS grant, you must agree with your employee any new flexible working/furloughing arrangement and then confirm that agreement to them in writing - any such arrangement must cover at least one week
  • you will have to submit data to the CJRS covering both the usual working hours that an employee would be expected to work in a claim period and the actual hours that they worked
  • when claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours, you will need to report and claim for a minimum claim period of one week - this is a minimum period and you can still claim for longer periods, e.g. monthly or two-weekly cycles
  • if your employees are unable to return to work, e.g. they are shielding, or you still don’t have any work for them to do, they can remain on furlough and you can continue to claim the CJRS grant for their full hours (subject to the phased changes to employer contributions that will take effect from 1 August onwards).

You can decide the hours and shift patterns that your employees will work on their return, but any working hours arrangement must be agreed with your employees, cover at least one week and be confirmed to them in writing. You will then pay the employee in full while they’re working and the CJRS grant will cover their unworked hours.

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