On 29 May, the Chancellor announced that the coronavirus job retention scheme in its current form will close on 30 June and a new Flexible Furlough Scheme will be created to take its place starting on 1 July.

The announcement and updated guidance can be found on the Government website. Employers can use the key facts and checklist on this page to help them start planning for the flexible furlough scheme. You can also use the furlough guide to get to grips with everything you need to know about furlough leave and you should keep checking the Government website for the latest information.

Key facts to know about the flexible furlough scheme

  • The new scheme will commence from 1 July and will close on 31 October.
  • Employers will have more flexibility as it enables businesses to bring back workers part-time.
  • The contribution rates that the Government are currently offering will also be changing; from August employers will have to pay employers’ NI and relevant pension contributions on furlough pay or salary regardless of whether the employee is fully or partly furloughed. In September and October employers will be required to contribute at least 10% and 20% respectively towards employees’ furlough pay so that the cap on the part of the grant paid reduces before the scheme ends in October.
  • Employees who were part of an HMRC claim under the old scheme will be eligible to be part of the new scheme. This includes any employee who is currently on furlough leave and will remain on furlough until the new scheme commences and any employee who has been furloughed and who has since returned to work. 
  • 10 June was the last date for any employees who have never been furloughed to commence their first ever period of furlough (this must be a minimum of three weeks by 30 June). Any employees who are furloughed from the first time after this date are not eligible for the flexible furlough scheme. There are exceptions for employees are on statutory maternity leave who plan to return to work in the coming months; more information is available in the FAQs on the changes under the extended furlough scheme. This applies to statutory paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement leave too.
  • Employers can decide the hours and shift patterns that employees will work on their return to work, meaning employees can work as much, or as little, as the business needs with no minimum time that they can furlough their staff for.
  • Employers will need to confirm working patterns on a weekly basis in order to claim under the new scheme. This would then need to be confirmed in writing to the employee. 

Flexible furlough planning checklist

Download the checklist to help work through the key dates and tasks required to place employees on the flexible furlough scheme.

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