Employers are eagerly awaiting news (which may well come later today) as to how the CJRS will change from the 1 August 2020.
The Government's press release (issued on 12 May 2020) had said:
- Employees will be able to return to work on a part-time basis.
- Employers will be required to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed employees.
- The employer's payments will substitute the 80%/£2,500 contribution under the CJRS.
The most recent version of the CJRS Guidance (version 9...we think...) was updated on 14 May 2020 and confirmed that the CJRS will continue in its current form until the end of July and then "from August, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part time whilst still receiving support from the scheme. This will run for three months from August through to the end of October. Employers will be asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff. The employer payments will substitute the contribution the government is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. More specific details and information around its implementation will be made available by the end of May."
We suspect that the words "from August, employers currently using the scheme" is likely to mean that employers cannot claim for the first time after 1 August 2020. As employees will be able to return to work on a part-time basis from August, we expect this is intended to prevent potential abuse of the scheme to include employees who had continued to work for their employer through the pandemic.
What is certainly unclear is whether employers will be required to pay a different proportion of capped furlough pay for furloughed employees who return to work part-time as opposed to those who do not. There is also some pressure on the Government to bring forward any concept of part-time furlough - with many retail businesses opening from June 15, but with reduced capacity, is 1 August too late for them? Watch this space.