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Law at Work advice on Coronavirus flexible furlough arrangements

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22 June 2020

How does flexible furlough work? Law at Work, experts in employment law, have issued the following guidance:

From 1st July 2020, employers who have previously accessed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, can introduce flexible furlough arrangements for their staff. The Flexible Furlough Scheme allows employees to work part time or part days and to be furloughed on the days or hours they are not working. Any employee who was furloughed prior to 30th June 2020, who has previously been furloughed for at least 3 weeks, can be flexibly furloughed from 1st July. Employers can decide how to implement flexible furlough arrangements to meet the needs of their internal operations.

The new guidance issued by the Government on 12th June 2020 confirms that the last date on which employers could furlough employees for the first time was 10th June 2020, with the exceptions of returnees from statutory leave who can be flexibly furloughed after this date. Any furlough leave agreed before 1st July 2020 has to run for a minimum of 3 weeks before flexible furlough arrangements can be introduced.

There will be no minimum period of flexible furlough leave from 1st July, but the claim periods for the CJRS grant will be for a minimum of one week. In July a maximum of four claims for CJRS can be made.

Detailed guidance on the Scheme changes was published on 12th June . The guidance provides that employees must be paid normal pay whilst working. Employers will have to report the hours worked as well as the employee’s usual working hours. The guidance details how "normal” hours should be calculated for those who work variable hours and provides a number of worked examples.

To be able to make a flexible furlough claim, and calculate the value of the claim, the employer will need to have information about the employee’s normal contracted hours in the last pay period on or before 19th March 2020 and the employee’s salary. Employers will have to record all claims and calculations and retain these for a period of at least six years.

Flexible furlough working arrangements will have to be agreed with the furloughed employee before they can be flexibly furloughed. This agreement must be captured in writing, much in the same way that employees currently have to agree to be placed on furlough leave. A style flexible furlough agreement has been produced and is available on the LAW Client Area for all clients, along with a detailed commentary on a calculation of what can be claimed under the scheme, based on an example used by HMRC.