After weeks of supporting businesses through lockdown, the Government is now assisting employers in easing their employees back into work as the restrictions are relaxed. With some limitations still applying, and uncertainty in the economy, the new rules allow employers to increase the time spent working, whilst still contributing towards the costs of maintaining employment when they are unable to work.
With the original furlough scheme being phased out it is unsurprising that no new employees will be able to be claimed for from 30 June. From then, grants will only be paid in respect of employees who have had a qualifying period of furlough of – three weeks – by that date. Any employee newly furloughed after 10 June will not qualify, although businesses may continue to furlough without Government support, if their employment contracts allow. All claims for the periods to 30 June need to be filed by 31 July to be accepted.
The strict rules of furloughing are to be relaxed. From 1 July, it will be possible to “flexibly” furlough employees by allowing them to return to work on reduced working hours but still receive support for the shortfall from their previous pattern. In order to demonstrate the change in patterns, employers’ claims will need to cover a minimum period of one week of furloughing and report both actual hours worked and those hours that would be expected.
With these increases in flexibility come gradual decreases in the generosity of the grant:
With some reports of the scheme having been abused it is worth noting that HM Revenue & Customs have powers to investigate previous claims and recover amounts that should not have been claimed. Original payment of the grant does not therefore guarantee that the claim will not be investigated in more detail once HMRC have capacity.
Further detail about the operation of the flexible furloughing scheme is expected on 12 June.
To discuss any of these issues further, or to find out how we can help you, please contact us.
These details are in accordance with Government guidelines as of 29 May 2020.
The information contained in this guidance has been obtained from public sources and every attempt has been made to ensure its accuracy at the date of publication. In this ever-changing environment, this information is subject to change and we will not accept liability for losses arising from changes in the law or the interpretation thereof.