The government announced on the 31st October 2020 that there will be a further national lockdown from 5th November 2020 to 2nd December 2020.  To support businesses, they have confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended to 31st Mach 2021, this includes the flexible furlough elements. If this is your first time needing to use the scheme, you may find our previous guidance useful. 

What is flexible furlough?

Under flexible furlough arrangements, employees can work reduced hours with the employer able to claim CJRS for the hours they are not working.  Employees can be on any type of contract and employers are able to agree any working arrangements direct with employees.

Employees can be still be furloughed ‘full-time’.

What can I claim under the CJRS grant?

Employers will be able to claim the CJRS grant for any hours that an employee is not working their usual hours.

Employers remain responsible for paying their employees for hours that are worked in accordance with their contract of employment.

During this extension, the Government will pay 80% of wages for unworked hours up to a cap £2,500.  However, employers will be responsible for National Insurance Contributions and pension contributions for both worked and unworked hours.

As with the current CJRS, employers can still top-up employee wages above the scheme at their own expense if they wish.

All businesses can utilise the scheme not just those that are required to close during the lockdown period.

Is it too late to place people on furlough?

No – new entrants can now enter the scheme and there is no requirement that they must have been furloughed previously.  The employee must be on payroll (RTI Submission) prior to 23:59 on 30th October 2020 to enter the scheme.

What is the minimum time that I can place an employee on flexible furlough?

Flexible furlough agreements can be for any period of time, but it should be noted that the minimum period an employer can report and claim for is 7 consecutive calendar days.

Do I need a furlough agreement?

As before, the employee must agree to being placed on the flexible furlough scheme and this agreement must be put in writing, signed by the employee and kept on record for 5 years.

The agreement must include the number of hours that the employee is expected to work and how many hours they will be furloughed. If working hours are changed, a new agreement must be signed to reflect the new hours.

The agreement should also be consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws.

What happens on 2nd December?

As things currently stand, the Job Support Scheme will be introduced at the end of the CJRS as had been planned before the lockdown announcement was made.

As always, if you need our help with this or any other HR advice then do call us on 01536 215240.