Flexible Furlough: what it means

wages

This is a guide to what flexible furlough means. But DO check out the government website and/or ask your HR specialists for help. It is always best to check with your Employment specialist or read the actual government guidelines – there are also furlough calculator and examples on the site. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

In July, employers will be allowed to bring back employees part-time and can use furlough for the hours they don’t work. Employers will have to pay normal pay for the hours they “use”. It is open to any amount of time and shift pattern but full furlough still possible.

If an employer wishes to flexibly furlough employees, they will first have to write to employees. It is not quite clear yet whether the employee has to agree in writing to flexible furlough or whether once you have written their agreement is assumed. 

♦ When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week. This is a minimum period and those making claims for longer periods such as those on monthly or two weekly cycles will be able to do so.

♦ To be eligible for the grant, employers must agree with their employee any new flexible furloughing arrangement and confirm that agreement in writing.

♦ Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working the grant covers the balance between hours worked and employee’s “usual hours” an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.

♦ For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.

♦ The minimum HMRC claim period is seven calendar days. You will not be able to make claims that cross calendar months.

♦ The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June. The final date to furlough an employee for the first time was the 10 June, in order for the existing three-week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31st July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June. From 1 July the scheme will only be available to employers that have previously used the scheme in respect of employees they have previously furloughed.

♦ From 1 July, claim periods will no longer be able to overlap months, employers who previously submitted claims with periods that overlapped calendar months will no longer be able to do this. They must instead when periods of furlough span two months, claims for the days in different months separately, as part of a claim for the month in which they fall. This is to reflect the fact that the JRS rules on employer contributions are changing each month.

♦ Although there is no minimum furlough period after 1 July, the minimum HMRC claim period that employers can claim for is seven calendar days. The only exception to this is when the period claimed for includes either the first or last day of the calendar month, and an employer is claiming for the period ending immediately before it. In these cases, the claim can be for fewer than seven days.

♦ The number of employees an employer can claim for in any claim period cannot exceed the maximum number they have claimed for under any previous claim under the current CJRS but employers can continue to make claims in anticipation of an imminent payroll run, at the point payroll is run or after payroll has been run.

♦ Under the flexible furlough scheme, employees will be able to work as many hours as is agreed with their employer. Employers will need to pay employees their normal pay in full (ie their pre-furlough rate of pay) for any hours they work when flexibly furloughed.

♦ Employers will then be able to claim a pro-rated furlough grant for any hours which flexibly furloughed employees do not work. This is calculated based on an employee’s “usual hours” when not on furlough, minus the hours they actually work.

For every claim period employers will need to work out and submit for each employee:
– the employee’s usual working hours;
– the actual hours they work; and
– their furloughed hours.

♦The wage will be proportional to the hours not worked

♦Calculations for employees on fixed hours, will be based on the hours they were contracted to work at the end of the last pay period ending on/before 19 March 2020.

♦ For employees on variable hours, usual hours will be based on the higher of the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020, or the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020 (including periods of paid annual leave or non-discretionary overtime).

♦ However employers can only make one claim for any period, so all furloughed or flexibly furloughed employees must appear in one claim, even if they are paid at different times. Overlapping claims are not permitted.

♦ If you make a mistake? The government has the answer to that on their website too. See original link.

Employer costs: In June and July

The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance Contributions (ER NICS) and pension contributions for the hours the employee doesn’t work. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work.

August:

The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work.

September:

The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

October:

The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500. The cap will be proportional to the hours not worked.

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