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COViD-19 – the end of (furlough) days

We knew that it could not continue for ever, but the end is now in sight for Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s incredible plan to save the UK economy from the cliff edge, with the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), amongst other measures. Whether that turns out to be the case, remains to be seen, but let us hope so, not least for those generations set to inherit that economy that will need to repay the enormous debt.

Be quick, you have less than a week to participate or otherwise extend your participation in the CJRS.

When do things change?

Ostensibly, matters pertaining to the CJRS will change with effect from 1 July 2020, which will then only be available to those employers that have already used the scheme, and then only in respect of those employees that they have previously furloughed for at least the minimum of three weeks. That means, in reality, that the next key date is 10 June 2020.

Timeline

There are some key dates that employers using or wanting to use the CJRS will need to have in mind:

Flexible CJRS

The Chancellor’s statement on 29 May 2020 introduces new tapering rules in relation to CJRS, but at this time gives very little detail in relation to how flexible part-time furlough in particular can work. However, as long as employees have previously been furloughed, they will be able to claim CJRS grant (where those employees work for any amount of time on any shift pattern) in respect of those normal hours not worked.

Any flexible furlough working arrangement will still need to be confirmed in writing, whether by way of an amending side letter or a fresh furlough agreement, but which permits the relevant employee to work during furlough and deals with the circumstances in which the employer can require the employee to work.

We shall of course report more when we know more.