Flexible Furlough Scheme

Flexible Furlough Scheme

1.       Those eligible to be furloughed under the new furlough scheme

Only people who have been furloughed for at least three weeks on or before 30 June under the old scheme can be furloughed after 1 July. The only exceptions to this are: where parents return to work after taking maternity, shared parental leave, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave; or returning military reservists.

2.       Duration of furlough

From 1 July, you’ll be able to bring back previously furloughed people for any amount of time and on any pattern of work and claim a grant for the hours not worked. For example, if your employee normally works five days a week and you only need them to work on three days, you can furlough them for the two days on which you don’t need them to work. You can change the working pattern each week, if you need to.

3.       Limit on the number of people you can furlough from 1 July

The numbers of employees you can furlough in any period starting from 1 July can’t exceed the maximum numbers of employees you claimed for in one period under the old scheme (although returning parents should not be included in this calculation).

This means, for example, if you have divided your workforce into two teams and rotated them on a three-weekly basis, you can’t put all of them on flexible furlough to work half a week each!

4.       Claim periods

You must submit any claims under the old scheme by 31 July. After 1 July, you can only submit claims for a single calendar month. This means that if you have staff who were furloughed in June and July, you will need to submit separate claims for June and July.

Your claim period comprises the days you are claiming for. Claim periods starting on or after 1 July must (usually) start and end within the same calendar month and must last at least seven days. You must include all furloughed staff in one claim even if they are paid at different times and the government recommends that, if you can, you should match your claim period to the dates you process your payroll.

The government recommends that you do not claim until you are sure of the exact number of hours your employees will have worked during the claim period.  This is because you will have to contact them for help if you have under claimed.

5.       Calculating pay under the new scheme

If your employees return to work part-time you will need to know how many hours each employee usually works to be able to calculate the number of hours they have been furloughed.

If they are not contracted to work a fixed number of hours, you should use the variable calculation. The government has provided some examples of how to do this.

6.       Written agreements

The guidance states that you need a new written agreement to confirm the new furlough arrangement.

7.       Keeping records

You will need to keep a copy of all records for 5 or 6 years (the government advice is contradictory) including:

  • the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
  • the claim reference number
  • your calculations
  • for employees who are flexibly furloughed, their usual hours including any calculations and the actual number of hours they have worked.