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Furlough and Re-opening after Covid

As part of the response to Covid-19 the government has introduced the Job Retention Scheme (JRS). This enables employers to furlough workers and receive financial support from the Government to cover their salaries. However, from 1st July changes are being made as more businesses start to re-open their doors.


The below guide outlines some key changes to the JRS and advice on returning to the workplace.


Changes to the scheme

The JRS was originally scheduled to finish at the end of June but has now been extended until the end of October. The final date an employer can furlough an employee for the first time is 10th June due to having to complete a full three-week furlough period. 


Flexible Furlough

As of July 1st, the furlough scheme becomes more flexible.

June: Furlough scheme is effectively closed for employees not previously furloughed from 10th June. Employers are not required to contribute anything towards employees’ furlough salaries.

July: The new flexible scheme applies to previously furloughed employees. These workers are now able to return to work part time. Employers are still able to claim financial support for normal hours not worked. Employers take full responsibility for paying employees for the hours they work.

August: From 1st August employers must pay NI and pension contributions. The Government will pay 80% of furloughed employees wages until 31st August.

October: From 1st October to 31st October the government will pay 60% of wages.


What happens during furlough?

The minimum furlough period in the first phase of the scheme is three weeks. The revised flexible scheme looks at reducing this to one week, but it is yet to be confirmed. Employees who are placed on furlough are unable to work for the employer during furlough periods before 1st July. This changes during the second phase of the scheme, between July – October.


Returning to the workplace

With many furloughed workers unable to return to work until 1st July and the minimum furlough period currently being 3 weeks, many employers are facing difficulties when looking at re-opening their business due to staff still being within the 3-week cycle. For some industries, they will be returning to higher demand than typically expected and/or a backlog from the period of closure.


If you have urgent gaps in your workforce because of the 3-week furlough cycle and/or require workers to return before July, consider using a recruitment partner. At The Business Connection, we can provide both temporary and permanent workers with Covid safe working practices.