As set out by the Treasury in its latest update, there are three main aspects of the revised rules announced on 29 May 2020: 

  • Flexible furloughing 
  • Closure to new entrants from July 
  • Changes to Employer costs
Flexible furloughing

Principle: From 1 July, employers can bring back previously furloughed employees for any amount of time and any shift pattern whilst claiming furlough pay for hours not worked. 

Obligation 1: Employers need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period. 

Obligation 2: Claim period must be for a minimum of one week. (This does not mean that they must claim weekly, merely that they can. If an employer wishes to claim two-weekly or monthly, they can do so).  

Obligation 3: Employers need to agree with employees any new part-time arrangement and confirm that agreement in writing. 

Implication: If an employee contractually (or usually) works 40 hours per week and the employer wants to bring them back to work 2 days per week, the employer will need to report to HMRC that the employee's unworked hours are 24 hours (worked hours being 16 hours) for which they wish to claim back under the scheme.

Closure to new entrants

Principle: From 30 June (note, not from 1 July), the scheme will close to new entrants i.e. employers can only furlough employees who had previously been furloughed for at least 3 weeks. 

Obligation 1: If an employer wishes to furlough a new employee, the employer must furlough that employee at the latest by 10 June.

Obligation 2: Employers will have until the end of July to make claims in respect of the period to 30 June. 

Implication: An employer wishing to furlough a previously not-furloughed employee from 1 July cannot do so. 

Changes to employer costs

Principle: In order to participate in the scheme, it is a prerequisite that a furloughed employee is paid 80% of their wages (subject to a cap of £2,500). It will still be up to employers to decide whether to top up beyond 80%, but from September employers must at least make up the 80% contribution.  

June: No change i.e. government pays 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2,500, as well as employer NICs and pension contributions ("Contributions"). 

July: No change to the contributions by the government but if the employer is making use of flexible furloughing, then it will have to pay employees for the hours they work as well as the Contributions. 

  • Fully furloughed: Government to pay 80% of wage subject to a cap of £2,500 as well as the Contributions. 
  • Partially furloughed: Government to pay 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2,500 as well as the Contributions on hours not worked (in proportion to full hours) but employers must pay for the hours and the Contributions on hours worked.

August: Government will pay 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2,500. Employers must pay the Contributions. 

  • Fully furloughed: Government to pay 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2,500 but employers must pay the Contributions. 
  • Partially furloughed: Government to pay 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2,500 on hours not worked (in proportion to full hours) but employers must pay the Contributions on unworked hours. Employers then pay wages and the Contributions on hours worked. 

September

  • Fully furloughed: Government to pay 70% of wages subject to a cap of £2,187.50, but employers must pay the remaining 10% (£312.50) and the Contributions.
  • Partially furloughed: Government to pay 70% pf wages subject to a cap of £2,187.50 on hours not worked (in proportion to full hours) but employers must pay the Contributions on unworked hours. Employers then pay wages and the Contributions on hours worked. 

October

  • Fully furloughed: Government to pay 60% of wages subject to a cap of £1,875, but employers must pay the remaining 20% (£625) and the Contributions.
  • Partially furloughed: Government to pay 60% pf wages subject to a cap of £1,875 on hours not worked (in proportion to full hours) but employers must pay the Contributions on unworked hours. Employers then pay wages and the Contributions on hours worked.

Full guidance is due to be published on Friday 12 June.

Key contact

Sungjin Park

Sungjin Park

Knowledge Lawyer, Employment
London

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