The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing to support businesses as the economy is carefully reopened. Before July, employees that were placed on furlough could not undertake work for you. Originally, the scheme was only for employees who were not working, and while on furlough, an employee could not undertake work for or on behalf of the organisation.
From 1st July, businesses have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim under the CJRS for hours not worked. This new flexibility will help businesses with reopening and help boost the economy.
The government will continue to pay 80% of furloughed employees wages for any normal hours they do not work, up until the end of August, but the employer will have to pay employees for the hours they do work. For example, if a furloughed worker returns to work for two days per week, they would need to be paid as normal by their employer for these two days, while the government would cover the other three days.
Employers will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, and so employees can work as much or as little as the business needs, with no minimum time that they can furlough staff for.
Any working hours arrangement agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing. You must keep a written record of the agreement for five years and keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working).
If employees are unable to return to work, or employers do not have work for them to do, they can remain fully furloughed and the employer can continue to claim the grant for their full hours under the existing rules.
From 1st July, employers will only be able to claim for employees who have previously been furloughed for at least 3 consecutive weeks any time between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020. An exception to this is where an employee is returning from statutory parental leave after 10th June and meets the qualifying criteria to be furloughed for the first time.
Where an employee is flexibly furloughed, employers will be required to submit data on the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period, the employee’s actual hours worked, and the number of furloughed hours for each claim period.
If you claim in advance and your employee works for more hours than you agreed, then you’ll have to pay some of the grant back to HMRC. This means that you should not claim until you have certainty about the number of hours your employees are working during the claim period.
Interested in finding out more about the new changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? Watch our webinar on-demand where we discuss flexible furlough, the wind-down of the scheme and changes to making a CJRS claim.