We reported late last month on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to 31 October 2020 following the announcement by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. At the time, the Chancellor confirmed that further guidance on the workings of the amended scheme, which allows for flexible furloughing from 1 July, would be published on 12 June. This revised guidance has now been published.

The following updated guidance should be noted:

  • If you still need to make a claim under the existing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (which comes to an end on 30 June) this will need to be done by the 31 July at the latest.
  • Claims for the revised Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will start with the introduction of flexible furloughing from 1 July. The first time you will be able to make claims for days in July will be 1 July, you cannot claim for periods in July before this point.
  • From 1 July, employers can bring back employees to work part-time, for any amount of time and any shift pattern. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work but can still use the scheme to cover any normal hours your employees are furloughed.
  • The revised scheme requires employers with employees who are flexibly furloughed to have agreed the furlough arrangement with the employee (or reached a collective agreement with a trade union) and to keep a written agreement of this fact.
  • Employees can stay on full furlough under the revised scheme. The government will continue to pay 80% of costs for normal hours not worked up to the £2,500 cap during the month of July.
  • Government support for the scheme will begin to taper from 1 August when employers will be expected to start contributing towards furloughed employees wage costs by paying employers’ NIC and pension costs for any normal hours an employee does not work. There will be further reductions in government support to 70% of capped wages in September and to 60% in October before the scheme is closed on 31 October.
  • The government had previously announced that employees who haven’t had a qualifying 3-week period of furlough by 30 June would not be able to benefit from the revised scheme. However, there will an exemption for employees currently on statutory parental leave. The 3-week period for furlough is no longer a requirement of the revised scheme.  
  • Employers will need to report both the hours worked and the usual hours that an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.