FURLOUGH NEWS – GOING FORWARD

GUEST BLOG FROM KAREN KIRBY AT GREENSHOOT HR

Furlough – scheme 1 ends 30 June

The current furlough scheme ends on 30 June 2020.
Unlike the last 3 months, a furlough claim cannot span over calendar months, into July. From July, this will be a new scheme with new rules (see below).

This raises a question – that I can’t answer – if you bring staff back from furlough to work a week between now and end of June, can you re-furlough for 2 weeks? I suspect not, as each period of furlough must be a minimum of 3 weeks, and the scheme ends on 30 June. However, we might find that they may accept a claim for someone, who had been previously furloughed, for that shorter period of time up to the end of the scheme.

Why have I given you this tidbit? To make you stop and think before making a decision and allow you chance to furlough from tomorrow.
We will know more on 12 June when the Government will update the guidance.

What we do know is that if you think you might need to furlough after 1 July, the staff member must have been furloughed for at least 3 weeks at any point prior to 30 June. So, if you have someone you did not furlough up to this point, you will need to do so from tomorrow, 10 June.

Furlough claims for the period up to 30 June, must be made by 31 July.

From 1 July

New scheme starts, whereby furlough can be mixed with work.

For the claim, the schemes cannot overlap calendar months – your claim under the old scheme ends on 30 June, to be claimed by 31 July, and your new claim starts on 1 July, e.g. if you had furloughed someone from 1 April until 31 July (due to no work), you will claim for the period 1 April to 30 June separately to the claim for the period 1 July to 31 July.

For the new scheme, you will only be able to claim for people furloughed prior to 30 June. You will not be able to claim for extra people.

Staff can work as much or as little as the business needs, or if you have no work, staff can be furloughed for their full hours. You will be expected to report to HMRC what their full normal hours are and what the part-time hours worked are. You, or your payroll agent, should read the claim information carefully.

You should use this time up to 31 July to double check the claims you have made – correct pay referenced for grant claim and that furlough periods have been for at least 3 weeks. Adjusting if you have over or under claimed.

CommunicationYou need to have written agreements on file (and kept for 5 years):

  • Agreeing to be furloughed – from date to date (or what would end furlough). This needs to cover the whole of the furlough periods. Please double check that you have the relevant documentation in place, and you have kept any texts or e-mails agreeing to this.
  • Any conditions of furlough, e.g. that they will receive 80% of their normal pay, need to be included in the letter.
  • When staff have returned to work – date and conditions of return, e.g. pay, abide by measures.
  • If non-furloughed staff have worked at home or on reduced pay, this should be agreed in writing too.
  • From July 1 – the letter(s) will be a bit more personal and complicated as you will need to agree what hours and shift patterns each person will return to work on, clearly stating what will be paid and what will be furloughed.
  • And what their pay will be – full normal rate for worked hours and 80% for furlough (based on pay as at last pay period before 19 March). Remember, NMW/NLW increased from 1 April so this will need to be paid for working hours; and if you had agreed a pay rise, this should be honoured for the working hours or have a written agreement that this no longer applies.
  • When any part-time arrangement will change, e.g. a phased return. Or send a letter with each change or phase. There may even be a need to furlough full time again.
  • EVERYTHING should be in writing and agreed – back track on this if needs be to make sure your records are correct.

You can find out more and speak to Karen here – https://greenshoot.co.uk/

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