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COVID-19 - Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Amendments

The Chancellor has announced three changes to the job retention scheme:

1. From 1‌‌ July 2020, the scheme will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back part time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working.

2. From 1‌‌ August 2020, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.

3. The scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June. This gives employers until 10 June to add any new employees to the scheme

Further information regarding each of these changes is detailed below.

1. Part time furloughing

From 1‌‌ July 2020, businesses using the scheme will have the flexibility to bring previously furloughed employees back to work part time, a month earlier than previously announced.

Employers will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return and will be responsible for paying their wages in full while working. This means that employees can work as much or as little as the business needs, with no minimum time that they can furlough staff for.

Any working hours arrangement agreed between a business and their employee must cover at least one week and be confirmed to the employee in writing.

2. Employer contributions

From August, the government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered.

  • in June and July, the government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer National Insurance (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will have to pay employees for the hours they work
  • in August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions.
  • in September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • in October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • the cap on the furlough grant will be proportional to the hours not worked.

3. Important dates

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30‌‌ June.

This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time will be 10‌‌ June for the current three-week furlough period to be completed by 30‌‌ June. Employers will have until 31‌‌ July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30‌‌ June.

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