On 26 June 2020, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak made a further (third) Treasury Direction under sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 concerning the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
There are a number of important changes to the way the revised scheme works that started to come into effect from 1 July 2020, the date that employers can bring back furloughed employees to work part-time and for any amount of time or shift pattern. The Direction is divided into two parts, the first part referring to the original scheme and the second part to the revised scheme.
Under the revised flexible furlough scheme, the government will continue to pay 80% of costs for normal hours not worked up to the £2,500 cap during the month of July. From August 2020, employers will be expected to start contributing towards furloughed employees wage costs by paying employers’ NIC and pension costs for any normal hours an employee does not work. There will be further reductions in government support to 70% of capped wages in September and to 60% in October before the scheme is closed on 31 October.
The third Treasury Direction confirms
- An employer will only be able to participate in the revised scheme if they had made a claim under the pre-July scheme in respect of an employee who has been furloughed for a minimum period of three weeks beginning on or before 10 June 2020.
- There is a special exemption for employees currently on statutory parental leave. This means that in most cases parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave are excepted from the 10 June 2020 cut-off date. This change also applies to those on adoption leave, shared parental leave, parental bereavement leave and to armed forces reservists.
- The maximum number of employees that can be claimed for under the revised scheme is limited to claims made prior to 1 July (referred to as the high-watermark number). The only exception is for the exemption referred to above.
- Any new agreement must be in writing with records retained until at least 30 June 2025.
- How qualifying costs are defined under the revised scheme.
- How to calculate the amounts that can be claimed under the scheme for employees and what costs employers must bear.