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17th June, 2020 by Simon deMaid
Further to the Chancellor’s announcement on 29 May 2020, the guidance to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Scheme”) has been updated to reflect changes coming into effect from 1 July 2020, including new rules concerning “flexible furlough”. Subject to the amended rules, employers will be able to agree flexible arrangements with employees allowing them to return for periods of work, without compromising their ability to claim under the Scheme for other hours not worked and which are designated furloughed.
A summary of the main changes include:
When claiming for an employee on flexible furlough, employers need to calculate their usual working hours for the relevant period and subtract from that the hours actually worked during that period, giving the hours for which the employee is furloughed. Records of these calculations need to be kept for 6 years. An updated calculator is available for the Scheme.
Detailed guidance with worked examples has been produced to assist employers to work out employees’ usual working hours. Different calculations are required if an employee works fixed or variable hours. The guidance also covers how to calculate 80% of employee’s normal wages (using the last full pay period before 19 March 2020).
Simon DeMaid comments:
“The changes made to the Furlough Scheme provide greater flexibility which will undoubtedly assist employers emerging from lockdown and through the turbulent times the economy is likely to face. Employers should review their workforce requirements and consider which furloughed workers can return to work. Before those workers return to work employers should consider any health and safety implication and undertake necessary risk assessments.
From August 2020, the financial support under the Scheme will reduce and the Scheme will end on 31 October 2020. Employers therefore need to consider the implications of that, including whether workforce restructuring is necessary.
Our Q&A article answers many commonly asked questions in relation to the Scheme, in particular the reduction of the level of grant from August 2020. Should you wish to discuss this further please contact a member of the team here.”
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