Last night, HMRC released details of the flexible furlough scheme, which starts on 1 July 2020. Under the flexible furlough scheme, employees no longer need to avoid doing any work for the employer, but can work for some of the week and be furloughed for the rest, in proportions decided between employee and employer.
The most significant change is that the minimum three week period for furlough has been removed (as of 1 July 2020). There is no minimum period, although any claim through the CJRS portal must be in respect of a minimum one week period (ie employers can only put in four claims a month, not 31).
The way the information was released was by making changes to most of the existing guidance, and by issuing three new pieces of guidance. It's simply horrible. And with a massive hat-tip to the brilliant Sally Hulston from Knights, who has collated all the information on her LinkedIn page, I am going to replicate her summary of the new guidance:
(1) Check if you can claim (original employer guidance doc - now version 14) - UPDATED (https://lnkd.in/eYzzGjz)
(2) Check which employees you can put on furlough guidance doc - UPDATED (https://lnkd.in/evQs5Vx)
(3) Steps to take before calculating your claim using the CJRS - NEW (https://lnkd.in/e5rzxcs)
(4) Calculate how much you should claim - NEW (https://lnkd.in/eyP5rwJ)
(5) Claim for your employees' wages online - UPDATED (https://lnkd.in/epPf9SU)
(6) Report a payment in PAYE RTI - UPDATED (https://lnkd.in/eE8YxCQ)
(7) Part-furlough worked example - NEW: (https://lnkd.in/eSBipD9)
(8) Long list of worked examples - UPDATED (https://lnkd.in/ebxX9D9)
I'm not going to pretend I've read all of it. I'll probably have to at some point, but - Lord help me - not on a Saturday morning. Broadly, from 1 July, employers will claim a pro rata'd amount of 80% of salary, based on the proportion of hours not worked out of normal working hours. To calculate the normal working hours for those with fixed hours/pay, you simply take the number of hours worked in the pay period before 19 March 2020. To calculate the normal working hours for those with variable pay, you take the higher of (a) the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020 or (b) the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020.
Here's one of HMRC's worked examples of how to calculate furlough for a flexibly furloughed employee. Imagine being an SME business owner, pulling out every stop to save the business, who has to sit down and work out those calculations. Well, we all know the acronym for the Flexible Furlough Scheme by now...
I suspect a lot of employers will be turning their minds to redundancy, now that the furlough scheme is becoming less generous and more complex. For those advising or carrying out redundancies, do look at module 3 of Getting Redundancy Right, which is me showing you through 13 different ways of avoiding redundancies. There's no 'one size fits all' answer for any business, but hopefully most employers will find one or two methods for saving jobs amongst the thirteen.
Finally, this is a useful summary of the forthcoming changes.