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Changes to the Furlough Scheme Introduction of Flexible Furlough

On Friday evening, HMRC released details of the flexible furlough scheme, which starts in July 2020.  From the 1st July, employees can work for some of the week and be furloughed for the rest.

On Friday evening, HMRC released details of the flexible furlough scheme, which starts in July 2020.  From the 1st July, employees can work for some of the week and be furloughed for the rest.

Below, our partner Keelys Solicitors outlines the key changes in each part of the guidance:

 

Check if you can claim

If you are going to use the flexible furlough scheme, it’s important that you keep records of how many hours your team has worked and the number of hours they have been furloughed.

When you are claiming, you must be sure of the exact number of hours your team has worked during the period you are claiming for. If you claim in advance and the staff member is not furloughed for as long as anticipated, you will end up receiving a higher furlough grant than you should, and you will have to pay some of it back.

 

Check which employees you can put on furlough

Only employees that you have successfully furloughed before will be eligible for more grants under the new scheme. This means they must have previously been furloughed for at least 3 weeks at any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020.

The only exception to that is if you have a member of staff returning from maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave. These staff members can be furloughed provided they were on the payroll on the 19trh March and you have already furloughed other staff prior to the end of June.

Where a previously furloughed employee starts a new furlough period before the 1st July, this period must be for 3 consecutive weeks minimum. For example, a previously furloughed employee can start a new furlough period on the 22nd June, which would have to continue for at least three consecutive weeks. After this, the employee can be flexibly furloughed for any period.

It is, however, important to note that after the 1st July, you cannot make claims that cross calendar months. This means that in this example, you would need to make a separate claim for the period up to the 30th June.

The number of employees you claim in any single claim period cannot exceed the maximum number of employees you claimed for under any claim ending by 30th June. For example, if you had previously submitted three claims in which the total number of employees furloughed was 20, 30 and 50, you would only be able to claim for up to 50 employees.

 

Steps to take before calculating your claim

Claims for periods ending on or before 30 June 2020 must be made by 31 July 2020.

Claims for any periods starting before the 1st July must end on or before the 30th June. This is the case even if your employee is furloughed in June and will continue to be furloughed full time in July. Separate claims will need to be submitted to cover the days in June and the days in July that you want to claim for, even if employees are furloughed continuously. This may mean that your claim periods will differ from the pay periods you use.

Any claim put through the portal must be for a minimum of a week in order to limit the number of claims employers may have otherwise made for a short period of furlough.

You should match your claim period to the dates you process your payroll, if you can. As you can only make one claim for any period, it’s important that you include all your furloughed or flexibly furloughed employees in one claim.

There are two different calculations you can use to work out your employee’s usual hours, depending on whether they work fixed or variable hours.

  • Calculate the normal working hours for those with fixed hours/pay – take the number of hours worked in the pay period before 19th
  • Calculate the normal working hours for those with variable pay – take the higher of either the average amount of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020 or the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020.

Having worked out the employee’s usual hours, you can then claim for the difference between their usual hours and the actual hours worked, i.e. for the number of hours that they were furloughed for.

 

Calculate how much you should claim

 

Claim for your employees’ wages online

 

Report a payment in PAYE RTI

We hope that you will find that summary of flexible furlough helpful. However, please note that any queries about how to make claims should be addressed to your payroll provider or accountants in the first instance.

The content of this article has been put together by our partners on Employment Law – Keelys LLP

 

Wojciech Dochan,

Managing Director,

Busy Bees Benefits

Provider of the SmartHive Platform 

Smart Hive is an integrated, cost effective employee benefits platform that provides your employees with access to all their health and wellbeing benefits in one place. Talk to a member of our team today or book your very own demonstration.