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Coronavirus - What to expect from the Flexible Furlough Scheme?

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The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to change from 1 July to allow employers to take advantage of the scheme while bringing employees back to work part-time if they wish. At the same time, the scheme will be gradually rolled back each month with employers increasingly being asked to shoulder more of the burden of wages until it is brought to an end on 31 October. We have summarised the main changes for you below.

Flexible Furlough

From 1 July, employers will be able to bring back to work employees who have previously been furloughed for a period of three weeks or more for any number of hours or shifts, while still being able to claim under the scheme for any hours not worked. Employers will also be able to take advantage of the new scheme in respect of employees not currently on furlough but who have nevertheless also previously been furloughed for at least three weeks.

The cut-off date for new employees to be placed on furlough in order to take advantage of the scheme going forward was 10 June.

Minimum furlough period

Any period of furlough beginning before the end of June must last three weeks. However, from 1 July onwards, any new periods of furlough under the new scheme are not subject to any minimum duration.

Tapering

Under the existing scheme the government has subsidised 80% of furloughed employees’ wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This support will now be gradually tapered as follows:

Agreement to furlough

As before, any changes to an employee’s contract must be agreed. To be eligible for the grant, employers must have confirmed to their employee in writing that they have been furloughed. Government guidance makes clear that the employee does not have to provide a written response.

Further guidance

This blog is only a very brief outline of the changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and a range of detailed government guidance documents are available on the gov.uk website including help calculating your claims. Given the increased complexity involved this is likely to be much used!

If you would like any advice on employment law issues around the Flexible Furlough Scheme and tapering of government support such as bringing employees back to work part-time or reducing the hours of employees currently working full time then we would be happy to help.

Please do contact our Employment Team who will be able to give you more specific advice.

This blog was written by Dominic Mantle.

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.