Updated on 24 June 2020
The Government has released further guidance concerning the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the changes which will be implemented from 1 July 2020. The new guidance sets out who will be eligible from 1 July 2020 and explains how flexible furlough will operate.
Summary of key changes from 1 July 2020
Which employees can employers claim for from 1 July?
Employers will only be able to claim a grant for employees that have already been furloughed for three consecutive weeks between 1 March and 30 June 2020. Therefore, the last date an employee could have started furlough for the first time was 10 June 2020. There is an exception for employees who have returned from maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave after 10 June.
An employer will not be able to use the CJRS from 1 July if they have not already made CJRS claims for their employees for earlier periods.
Number of employees that can be claimed for in each claim period
The number of employees that employers can claim for in any single claim period cannot exceed the maximum number of employees that the employer claimed for under any claims ending by 30 June. For example, if an employer previously submitted three claims between 1 March and 30 June 2020, in which the total number of employees furloughed was 10, 15 and 18 employees respectively, the maximum number of employees that the employer can furlough in any single claim from 1 July 2020 will be 18.
When calculating the maximum number of employees that employers can claim for, the number of employees being furloughed for the first time due to them returning from Shared Parental Leave should be added to any previous maximum.
From 1 July, employers will be able to “flexibly furlough” their employees. This means employers can bring their employees back to work for any amount of time and on any work pattern. Employers will be able to claim a grant for the hours which flexibly furloughed employees do not work, compared to the hours they would normally have worked in that period.
If an employer wishes to flexibly furlough staff, they will need to obtain their employees’ agreement and keep a written agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement. This agreement must be kept for 5 years. Employers must also keep records of how many hours their employees work and the numbers of furloughed hours for 6 years.
Although flexible furlough agreements can last any amount of time, unless otherwise specified, the period that you claim for must be for a minimum claim period of 7 calendar days.
The details of CJRS claims under flexible furlough can be seen here.
Working out employees' usual hours and furloughed hours
If employers flexibly furlough their employees, they will need to calculate their employees’ ‘usual hours’ and record the actual hours that they work as well as their furloughed hours for each claim period.
If an employee is not contracted to a fixed number of hours or their pay depends on the number of hours they work, employers will need to work out their employees’ ‘usual hours’. The Calculating Wages Guidance sets out how to do this.
HMRC has provided an example of how to calculate the amount that employers should claim for an employee who is flexibly furloughed as well as new guidance on how to calculate how much employers can claim using the CJRS.