• Some clarification on flexible furlough Jun 25, 2020
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    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the past few months have been like a soap opera - full of twists and turns that are so quick you develop whiplash trying to keep up with it all. It’s been a constant sensory overload of information and each daily press conference jumps from one issue to the next like fleas in a kennel club. This week we are focussed on the reopening of the hospitality sector which signals the end of the current lockdown as we know it.

    But only last week we had massive announcements regarding the furlough scheme! If you’re like me then you still had some lingering questions, so here is some further clarification on some of the points announced last week.

    What’s the deal with working part-time and wages?

    As of August 1st, companies will have to take over some of the burden of paying 80% of furloughed staff wages from the government. But also, from July 1st employers will be able to bring staff back to work part-time. Workers will be paid by their employer for the hours they work but what will the pay be for these hours? Put simply, employees should be paid normal wages for any hours worked. For hours they’re not working, they will be covered by the furlough scheme so they will still receive at least 80% of their normal salary.

    How many part-time hours are employees allowed to work?

    Employees can come back to work for as many hours as they can. So if they normally work a 40 hour week then they can work 39 of those and then be furloughed for the remaining hour. The amount of time they work each week can alternate over the month with employers varying it week by week. This will be particularly welcome news for the newly opened hospitality sector who have no idea how busy the coming weeks are likely to be so it gives businesses a bit of leeway.

    Do employees need a new agreement in writing?

    Yes, they certainly do. If your employees were put on furlough then they should have received this agreement in writing. Although employees will technically be on furlough, if they are working even one hour this new agreement of flexible working will need to be reflected in writing. However, employees can enter into more than one flexible furlough agreement meaning it can be changed to reflect different circumstances as they unfold and the employees can still be placed back on full-time furlough if they are not needed.

    So there you have it! It’s by no means straightforward but I hope this helps somewhat in dusting off the fuzz of flexible furlough. If you need help in calculating the amount of furlough grant you should be claiming for employees who are flexible furloughed, HMRC have prepared a working example which can be found here. Or if you are part of the 22nd century and use a handy payroll software such as BrightPay, then they will be able to calculate this for you with the push of a button.

    Right, now that that’s sorted I’m off to get my hair done, have a few pints in the pub and grab some knickers from Primark. Afterwards I’ll call my mum as I’m still not allowed within 2 feet of her. (That's her guidance, not the government’s!)

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
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