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Advice For Employers & HR Professionals

NEWS FLASH: Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

There had been a lot of press speculation about changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and some of the details have now been provided by the Chancellor.  These will see employers able to utilise furloughed staff on a part time basis, but will also require them to gradually bear some of the (not insignificant) cost.

Key dates from the Chancellor’s most recent announcement are:

  • 10 June: last day an employer can put an employee onto furlough for the first time
  • 30 June: closure of the scheme to employers who have not already claimed
  • 1 July: employers given flexibility to bring employees back to work part-time whilst accessing CJRS for any of their normal hours not worked, starting so called ‘flexible furloughing’
  • 31 July: end current CJRS funding level (80% of salary up to £2,500 per month, plus employer NICs and auto enrolment pension contributions funded)
  • 1 August onwards: CJRS funded to 80% of salary/£2,500 per month.  Employers will be required to pick up the costs of the NICs and auto enrolment pension contributions
  • 1 September onwards: CJRS funded to 70% of salary/£2,187.50 per month.  As well as NICs and pension contributions, employers will be required to pick up 10% of salary costs
  • 1 October onwards: CJRS funded to 60% of salary/£1,875 per month.  Employers will be required to pick up NICs, pension contributions and 20% of salary costs
  • 31 October: end of CJRS scheme

The ‘flexible furloughing’ arrangements are probably the most interesting.  The introduction from 1 July brings forward implementation from when it was originally planned at the start of August.  In our view, this is likely to be popular with employers, some of whom have found the existing ‘all or nothing’ approach to be a barrier to getting productive staff back into the workplace (whether virtually or in person).

Employers will need to reach agreement with their staff about any flexible furlough arrangements and, as before, this agreement should be confirmed in writing.

Beyond that, details are currently limited with further guidance due for publication on 12 June.  We intend to issue one of our much more detailed guidance notes at that stage.  In the meantime, please refer to our detailed guidance on Furloughed Workers under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for information on the current arrangements or contact Tiggy or Emma.

Torque Law continue to provide strategic and collaborative support to employers during the pandemic.  Our cloud-based working set-up has allowed the team to work remotely throughout these challenging times.  This week, we have implemented changes to our office set up to allow our team to start a safe phased return.  Whilst we’re a long way from all being back at HQ, we’re pleased to have been able to take a step in the right direction.

With our event programme remaining on hold, we’re looking to host further virtual Q&A sessions over the coming weeks on topical issues – if there’s anything specific you’d like us to cover, please let us know here.

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