The updated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Guidance promised on the 12th June appeared eventually at a very late hour.

It can be found on the link below.

Flexible Furlough Guidance

The basic guidance itself is relatively straightforward and adds little to what we already know about the new regime.  The complicated part is in the calculation and claims process. Clearly work will be necessary with your payroll team/providers to prepare for this.

A few matters the guidance has clarified, which were perhaps ambiguous before, or which are important to note,:-

  1. Anyone can be furloughed from 1st July onwards provided they have been successfully furloughed for at least three weeks at any time between 1st March and 30th June under the “old” regime.
  2. An employee who has previously been successfully furloughed for three weeks under the “old” regime can be furloughed between now and the end of July but this must be for three weeks and therefore part of that three week period will (and can be) in July. A separate claim will need to be made for the part in June and the part in July. As you know it is now too late to furlough someone for the first time.
  3. There will be no minimum furlough period from 1st July onwards ( other than in point 2 above), although ( subject to some exceptions at the beginning or end of a month), the minimum period for a claim is 1 week ( ie you can furlough for 1 day but can’t claim for a 1 day period you need to claim for 1 day of furlough in a 1 week claim period for example).
  4. You will have until 31st July to make any claims for claim periods up to 30 June.
  5. You will not be able to make claims for any days of furlough in July, before July.
  6. You cannot claim for more employees in any claim period after 1st July, than  you have previously claimed for at any one time.
  7. Claims periods cannot overlap calendar months so separate claims need to be made for each month. This is because the rules change each month from now on in terms of what you can claim ( August no Ni or Pension, September only 70% + 10% top up  and October only 60% + 20 % top up).
  8. If you flexibly furlough employees, you’ll need to agree this with the employee (or reach collective agreement with a trade union) and keep a new written agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement.
  9. You need to keep good records of hours worked and hours spent on furlough.
  10. You can furlough an employee returning from statutory parental leave ( eg maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption) after 10 June even if you are furloughing them for the first time, as long as they started the leave prior to 10th June ( and meet the other qualifying criteria in terms of being on your payroll in March)  and provided you have successfully furloughed other employees under the “old” regime. These can be added to the maximum number you are allowed to furlough.

There is a lot more but these are some, hopefully helpful, highlights.  The Treasury Direction is likely to be updated as well following this so we will report on that once available.

For further advice or assistance on these issues in the meantime please contact any member of the Employment Team.

This article is accurate as at 12 June 2020. Please check our COVID-19 Business Support page for up to date developments.