The Government’s updated flexible furlough scheme is due to come into effect on 1 July 2020. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme closes to new entrants on the 30 June 2020. However, employees must have already been on furlough a minimum of 3 weeks before this date, meaning the last date to furlough an employee for the first time was 10 June 2020.
An employer can claim under the scheme from 1 July 2020 in respect of employees who have previously been furloughed for a full 3 weeks prior to 30 June 2020. We expect to receive further guidance on the new scheme imminently.
However, the Chancellor recently announced that those returning from parental leave in the coming months will not be subject to the 10 June 2020 deadline to be furloughed for the first time.
The exemption applies to those on the following parental leave: statutory maternity and paternity leave, adoption leave, shared parental leave and parental bereavement leave and therefore it is possible for an employer to furlough an employee after 1 July 2020 if the employee has been on this type of parental leave even if they were not furloughed before 10 June 2020, provided that the employee started their parental leave before 10 June 2020 and the employer has previously furloughed other staff.
Caroline Illing comments:
"Allowing new parents returning from leave to be furloughed after the 10 June deadline will allow for greater flexibility and support for employers and employees alike. The Chancellors’ last minute change follows a campaign from Maternity Action who warned new parents should have an exception to the cut-off date as they could face a higher risk of redundancy once they returned if they could not be furloughed. It is aimed at bringing fairness to those currently on certain types of parental leave.
"We will keep you informed on the latest changes to the flexible furlough scheme following publication of the Governments’ new guidance. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the team."
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