Government clarifies furlough scheme stance for employers

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Only employees who have been furloughed for at least three weeks on or before 30 June 2020 are eligible for the final phase of the scheme. 

Employers had until 10 June 2020 to place any workers on the job retention scheme if they wanted to take advantage of it until 31 October 2020.

Jeremy Coker, president at the Association of Taxation Technicians, said:

“Unless an employee has been furloughed at some point between 1 March and 30 June 2020, for a minimum of three continuous weeks, it will not be possible to furlough them between 1 July and 31 October.

“Employers should be aware that from 1 July, the number of employees they can include on claims for periods from that date will be capped.

“The cap will be equal to the maximum number of employees previously claimed for in the first three months of the scheme.”

Since 1 March 2020, the Treasury has offered to cover up to 80% of the salaries of workers who were unable to do their jobs from home due to coronavirus.

More than a quarter of the UK’s entire workforce – 9.1 million employees – have been furloughed prior to the 10 June 2020 deadline and are therefore eligible for the final four months of the scheme.

Businesses do, however, have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part-time from 1 July 2020, a month earlier than previously announced.

Firms that opt to bring their employees back on a part-time basis will be responsible for paying their wages for the hours they work and can furlough them for the remaining hours.

From 1 August 2020, the support provided through the furlough scheme will be limited and employers’ contributions will rise, to reflect furloughed employees returning to work.

For September and October 2020, the Treasury will pay 70% and 60% of wages up to caps of £2,187.50 and £1,875 respectively.

Business as usual is set to resume from November, assuming the number of coronavirus cases in the UK continues to fall.

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