11 Jan 2021

New lockdown: Can I still furlough my employees?

New lockdown: Can I still furlough my employees?

With Scotland facing another potentially lengthy lockdown, many employers are wondering if they can still utilise the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to furlough their staff?

The answer is yes, as long as the employer’s business operations have been affected by COVID-19 and the employee meets the eligibility criteria.

The CJRS has been extended until 30th April 2021 and employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Employers will still need to pay employer pension contributions and employer national insurance and cannot claim for these.

However, employers should bear in mind that they cannot utilise the CJRS to claim for relatively new employees – to make a claim, an employer must have made a PAYE Real Time Information submission to HMRC between 20th March 2020 and 30th October 2020 notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

Generally speaking that means an employee will require to have been employed, and paid, by 30th October 2020 to be eligible.

It is important to note that since 1st December 2020 an employer cannot make a claim for a period during which the furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period.

Flexible furlough

Employees can be ‘flexibly furloughed’, whereby they can work reduced hours and be furloughed for their remaining hours not worked.

If an employee is flexibly furloughed then they must be paid in full for the hours that they do work and 80% of their pay for their normal hours not worked, the latter of which can be reclaimed by the employer.

Arrangements to fully or flexibly furlough an employee must be agreed with the employee and you must confirm the agreed arrangements to the employee in writing.

During the time that employees are on furlough they cannot undertake any work for the employer (which includes making money for or providing services to the organisation) although they can undertake some training.

Get in touch

For further information, or to speak to a member of our Employment Law team, click here to get in touch.

We also have further articles on furlough here:

  1. Flexible furlough - what is it and how to use it
  2. Exiting furlough and unfurloughing staff
  3. Making redundancies in a covid world
  4. Changing staff terms and conditions
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