On Friday 29th May, the UK Government announced a further update to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and how this would support their plans to get the country back to work.
You can view the government’s published information here – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888764/Factsheet_for_SEISS_and_CJRS_schemes.pdf
There are some very positive points, not just the extension of the scheme, but also some areas where care will need to be exercised.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30th June. From this point on, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3-week period prior to this date.
This means that the final date an employee can be furloughed is the 10th June.
From 1st July the scheme will only be available for employers that have previously used the scheme and only in respect of employees that they have already furloughed.
From 1st July employers will be able to bring back staff on a part-time basis while still benefiting from the scheme. Although this seems fairly straight forward for your permanent staff, there will be complexities for temporary / contract workers. There is further clarity expected around how calculations will work for workers without fixed hours on 12th June.
Also from this date, claim periods will no longer be able to overlap months. This is necessary to reflect the forthcoming changes to the scheme.
From 1st August, the level of government contributions will be slowly tapered off. They will be as follows;
|Government contribution: Employer NICs and Pension Contributions *||Yes||No||No||No|
|Government contribution: wages||80% up to £2,500
|80% up to £2,500
|70% up to £2,187.50
|60% up to £1,875
|Employer contribution: Employer NICs and Pension Contributions||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Employer contribution: Wages||–||–||10% up to £312.50
|20% up to £625
|Employee receives||80% up to £2,500 per month||80% up to £2,500 per month||80% up to £2,500 per month||80% up to £2,500 per month|
* Government contribution covers employer NICs and pension contributions (up to an amount equivalent to the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) calculated on 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month.
Some further rules regarding the flexibility of the furlough arrangements: –
- Employers must agree with their employee any new flexible furloughing arrangement and confirm that agreement in writing.
- Employers can claim the grant for the hours their employees are not working calculated by reference to their usual hours worked in a claim period. Further details will be included in future guidance.
- Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period.
- For worked hours, employees will be paid by their employer subject to their employment contract and employers will be responsible for paying the tax and NICs due on those amounts.
Agency Workers / Umbrella Employees
Unless something within the guidance is agreed for agency and umbrella workers, there may well be the need for negotiation between Umbrella Companies, Agencies and their End-Hire clients over who they wish to retain and who will be prepared to pay the contributions from 1st August onwards. If work is still not available by then, huge numbers of agency and umbrella workers will have their furlough period ended due to the commerciality of the arrangement.