From 1 July 2020, employers will be able to bring back furloughed employees on “flexible furlough” agreements.
Employers can bring back furloughed employees on any working pattern and must pay them for any hours worked and may then claim the furlough grant for the hours the employee is furloughed up to the existing 80% pay limit.
However, employers may only claim the furlough grant under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for those employees who have already been furloughed for at least three weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 (meaning the latest date on which the employee should have been furloughed was 10 June 2020).
There is an exception for those employees returning from family-related leave – they may be furloughed for the first time provided the following criteria are met:
- The employer has previously furloughed any other employee in their organisation for at least three weeks between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020;
- The returning employee must have started their leave before 10 June and returned to work after 10 June 2020; and
- The employee must have been on the employer’s payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
While there is no minimum amount of time the flexible agreement must last for, employers will only be able to claim for periods of at least seven calendar days. Further, any claims made after 1 July 2020 cannot cross calendar months – where an agreement does so, the employer will need to make two separate claims to cover each month.
If the employer wishes to implement a flexible furlough agreement, they must agree this with the employee in writing and retain a record of this agreement for six years. The employer must also keep a record of the hours the employee works and the hours for which they are furloughed for six years.
Employees are still not allowed to perform any work on the days they are furloughed.
Should you require any advice on the effect of the new flexible furlough guidance, please contact a member of our employment law team.