Josie Broadstock is MD of Altum HR and writes a regular column

AS I always stress, communication is key so clearly advising employees when they are likely to return and where their furlough period is likely to be extended is vital. This should be the case even where employers may not have a concrete return to work strategy as yet, particularly in sectors such as retail, hospitality and aviation.

Furlough agreements should be updated and should include information such as holiday processes and sickness reporting.

The overall strategy for returning staff should be thorough and transparent. This allows staff to mentally prepare for changes to their new routine of staying at home.

This communication is not only crucial for the employee, but it benefits the business in several ways:

  •  Helps to generate records of legal furlough agreements;
  •  Builds accountability records for HMRC and possible claims mitigation;
  •  Supports the employment relationship positively;
  •  Encourages communication to support in identifying obstacles when reviewing return to work plans;
  •  Builds loyalty between the employee and the employer

Furlough Timetable

June 10: This is is the cut-off point for employers being able to place their employees on furlough.

July 1: From this point, a business will be able to access furlough on a more flexible basis and they will be able to decide on a split that will support them in transitioning their employees back into the workplace. This ‘flexible furlough’ system means that an employee could work part-time and be furloughed part-time.

August 1: Employers will have to begin paying their employee’s national insurance and pension contributions. Until this point employers had been able to claim them through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

September 1: From this date, employers will only be able to claim 70% of their employee’s salary (up to a maximum of £2,190). Employers will be required to contribute the remaining 10-30% depending on what they have agreed with their employee. They will have to make the wage up to at least 80%.

October 1: The CJRS will drop to a 60% contribution (up to £1,875) with employers having to contribute the remaining 20-40% depending on what they have agreed with their employee. They will have to make the wage up to at least 80% however.

October 31: The furlough scheme will end.

The self-employed grant is also to be extended, with applications opening in August or a second and final grant.. There will be a parity with the reducing furlough scheme paying 70% (not 80%) of average earning up to £6750.

As always we are here at Altum HR to help and advise. We have a blog on our website about this that may help further too.

Thanks, and keep well,