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Furlough - the latest Q&A

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Furlough - the latest | Q&A

From 1 July 2020 it will be possible for employees to work on some days (or parts of days) and be furloughed for others. For example, an employee who previously worked 9 - 5, Mondays - Fridays, could work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays but be furloughed on Thursdays and Fridays.


Q: How will flexible furlough work?

A: Employees will be able to work part-time for their employer while on furlough. Any flexible furlough arrangement will need to be agreed between the employee and employer in writing; however, any working pattern is permitted under the scheme and there is no restriction on the length of time it must last. 


Q: How will the government subsidy change?

A: The subsidy will only apply to the hours the employee is not working during furlough. Employers will be required to pay the employee’s normal wages while the employee is working. 


Q: Who can be placed on the new flexible furlough scheme?

A: Only employees furloughed for three weeks or more before 30 June 2020 can continue to be part of the scheme after 1 July 2020. Employers can no longer add new employees onto the flexible furlough scheme, with the exception of employees returning from maternity or other family leave. Employees who are back at work at the end of June can be re-furloughed provided they have been furloughed for three weeks or more. 


Q: Are there changes to the way we need to make a claim?

A: Yes. Any claim for the period before 30 June 2020 must be made by 31 July 2020. After 1 July 2020, a claim must start and end within the same calendar month. 

To claim the grant, employers will need to report to HMRC the hours an employee works and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period. Employers can make more than one claim in each month, but each claim must be for a period of at least seven days.  

The one exception to the seven-day claim rule is if you are making a claim for a few days at the beginning or end of a month.


Q: Are there additional record keeping duties?

A: Yes. For employees on flexible furlough, you must retain the usual hours worked by each employee, your calculation used to ascertain usual hours and the actual hours worked. These records must be kept for 6 years.

The written agreement you have with employees that agree to be flexibly furloughed must be kept for at least 5 years.


Q: How will we calculate the government subsidy if we use the flexible furlough scheme?

A: The guidance contains complex rules for calculating the amount of grant which may be claimed. Your calculation will vary according to whether you previously calculated the grant based on a fixed salary or variable pay, how many hours worked and your ‘baseline’ number of ‘usual hours’. The government has therefore made a number of examples available. We have included the links to these pages opposite.


For advice and support on flexible furlough, call us now for a friendly chat about your needs.