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Calculating an employee's 'furloughed hours'


Should you wish to flexibly furlough an employee, you will first 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.

You’ll need to:

  • make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws

  • keep a written record of the agreement for five years

  • keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working).


Once you have agreed how many hours your flexibly furloughed employee is going to work in the claim period, they will be furloughed for the rest of their 'usual hours'. For more information on calculating an employee's usual hours, click here.

Once you have established your employee's usual hours, you can now calculate their 'furloughed hours'.


  1. Start with your employee’s usual hours

  2. Subtract the number of hours they actually worked in the claim period (even if this is different to what you agreed)


  • An employee is furloughed from 1 April 2020 and the employee becomes a flexibly furloughed employee on 10 July 2020. The employer claims weekly, in line with their payroll run.

  • The employer is looking to claim for the employee for the period 22 July 2020 to 28 July 2020 (1 week). The employer works out the employee’s usual hours for this period to be 37 hours.

  • The employee and employer agree that the employee will work 10 hours in the period 22 July 2020 to 28 July 2020. The employee works 10 hours in that period.


The employer will therefore calculate the employee’s number of furloughed hours as follows:

  1. Start with 37 (the employee’s usual hours)

  2. Subtract 10 (the number of hours the employee actually worked in the claim period)

The employee is furloughed for 27 of their 37 usual hours.




Important Note:


When claiming for employees who are flexibly furloughed, you should not claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours they will have worked during the claim period. This means that you should claim when you have certainty about the number of hours your employees are working during the claim period.

If you claim in advance and your employee works for more hours than you have told HMRC about, then you will have to pay some of the grant back to HMRC. 

Need help? Support is available at 0345 9390019 or support@brightpay.co.uk.

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