The Flexible Furlough Scheme was launched by the Government on the 1st July as the next stage of the coronavirus job retention scheme. It was designed to replace the initial furlough scheme and provide employers with more flexibility with regards to bringing staff back to work on a part-time basis.
Full details of the scheme can be found on the GOV.UK website however, the following provides a useful summary of the key points:
- The scheme is operational from 1st July 2020 until 31st October 2020.
- Claims can only be made for an employee under the new scheme if they were furloughed under the old scheme for 3 consecutive weeks between 1st March 2020 and 30th June 2020. This means that the 10th June 2020 was the latest date by which an employee must have been furloughed for the first time.
- There are exceptions to this rule which include military reservists and employees returning from statutory parental leave.
- All employees who were part of the old furlough scheme are eligible for the new flexible scheme.
- From 1st August employers must start paying NI and pension contributions again.
- From 1st September employers must contribute towards the cost of employees’ wages again. The amount of government support available will be tapered until the end of October.
- Employers are able to decide the working hours and shift patterns of their employees. This provides companies with the flexibility to utilise staff as much, or as little, as needed.
- Working patterns will need to be confirmed weekly in order to make a claim under the scheme.
- Working patterns must be notified to employees in writing.
- There is no minimum furlough period.
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