We’ve received a some questions regarding the new Flexible Furlough scheme, full details are expected from the Government by the 12th June, below is a bit more information we hope you find useful.
The Current CJRS
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers, it started on the 1st March 2020 and will end on the 30th October 2020.
Employers can claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.
How The New CJRS Will Work
- The old Scheme will close to new entrants on 30th June
- From this point, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed (previously or currently) for a full three week period prior to 30th June
- Employers who want to place new employees on furlough must do so by 10th June in order to serve the minimum 3 week period required
- From 1st July, flexible furlough can be used
Employees must have been furloughed under the current scheme (CJRS V1) for them to be eligible for a furlough grant under the revised scheme (CJRS V2). So, in practice, only employees who have been included in a furlough grant claim made before 1st July 2020 can be furloughed under CJRS V2.
For July the grant will be available on the same basis as now (the lesser of 80% of pay and £2,500).
From August the grant will no longer cover the cost of employers’ National Insurance nor pension contributions with employers expected to cover the costs, but will continue to pay 80% of wages
From September the CJRS will pay 70% of wages while employers will take on the other 10%
From October the CJRS will pay 60% of wages while employers will take on the other 20%
Under the extended furlough scheme does a staff member actually have to be on furlough leave as at 30th June to qualify, or does it count if they have previously been furloughed but are working on a staff rotation?
The extended or flexible furlough scheme can include all employees who have previously been furloughed with that employer, even if they are working on 30th June.
From 1st July the scheme is only available to employers that have previously used the scheme for employees they have previously furloughed. There must have been at least one 3-week furlough period completed at some stage before the end of June.
Does the newly extended furlough scheme mean that employees who started a new job after 19th March can now be furloughed?
No, it does not mean that employees who started a new job after 19 March can now be furloughed under the scheme. The main eligibility for access to payments for staff furloughed under the Coronavirus job retention scheme remains that there must have been an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC on or before 19 March 2020.
If an employee has already been taken off furlough before 10th June, can that employee be re-furloughed again after 10th June under the extended furlough scheme?
Yes if an employee has already been taken off furlough before 10th June but has undertaken a full three week furlough period before then, that employee can be re-furloughed again after 10th June under the extended scheme.
What amount can be claimed for an employee on flexible furlough?
Employers claim for the hours employees are not working is calculated by reference to their usual working hours in a claim period. The Government has said that the cap will be proportional to the hours not worked. Employers must report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
An employer and employee may agree that an employee previously on furlough, returns to work half time, meaning they now work for 20 hours compared to a 40-hour contracted working week. For the hours the employee is not working they will be covered by furlough pay, the hours worked will be paid salary as normal. If the employee normally earns £3,000 a month, they would have got full furlough pay of £2,400 a month. On returning to work half time the employee would earn £1,500 a month from the employer (as the proportion of normal monthly salary) plus £1200 for the 20 weekly hours of furlough (half the monthly furlough pay). This means the employee would get a total of £2,700 a month for working half time compared to £2,400 if they were on full furlough.
If an employee was furloughed but already gone back to work part time, can they be furloughed again in the flexible furlough scheme from July onwards?
Any employees who were on furlough for a full three-week period before 30th June, can be furloughed again under the extension of the scheme. This means any employees who were furloughed and have returned to work part time can be put into the extended furlough scheme from July onwards.
If any employees have agreed to reduce their hours to a part-time role with a part time salary there may be difficulties, further guidance is awaited and hopefully this will fully address if employers can agree to increase part time employees to a full-time role before furloughing them.
If employers have furloughed staff but don’t want to pay the additional costs from August, can they ask employees to forego the extra amount in return for receiving the furlough pay?
Simple answer here is no as it breaches the schemes T&C’s in that the employee must receive the full grant from the government. Government guidance does emphasise that on average employers are being asked to contribute 5% of the overall cost in August, 14% in September and 23% in October which is far less than the pre-furlough salaries.