Furlough extension: parents returning from leave will be eligible for furlough under the CJRS

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12 June, 2020

On 29 May 2020, the Chancellor announced further updates to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("Scheme") which included a cut-off date of 30 June 2020 for new furlough applications. For further details of the updates announced last month, please see our briefing summarising the changes to the Scheme.

The last day on which new applications for furlough were to be submitted was 10 June 2020, in line with the minimum furlough period of three weeks. However, any eligible staff previously furloughed under the Scheme can be re-furloughed on or after 1 July 2020.

This week, Tuesday 9 June 2020, HM Treasury has announced that parents who return to work after statutory maternity and paternity leave will be eligible for furlough even if they return after 10 June 2020 - an exception to the rule. This exception will also apply to employees on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave.

It is worth highlighting that the ability to do this will only be provided where an employer has previously furloughed under the Scheme.

In making this announcement, the Chancellor expressed his hope that these changes will provide financial assistance to families who are still in need of support, following a period of leave.

What does this mean for employers?

This means employers will be able to utilise both full time and part-time furlough leave for those returning from extended parental leave.

In practice, this will assist employers in making suitable working arrangements, with those who, in reality, will continue to have childcare commitments beyond their period of leave. This change will ultimately support employers, in encouraging employees back to the workplace, but will also allow for some further flexibility and offer employers financial assistance to achieve this.

The ability to utilise part-time furlough leave for those retuning from parental leave will allow employees to continue to balance their work and family commitments, through these uncertain times and will discourage and provide an alternative to employers requiring their employees to agree to vary their contractual hours. Finally, these changes will allow those who may have been taking a period of unpaid parental leave the opportunity to receive income, whilst also prioritising the needs of their family.

We are yet to receive further details regarding part-time furlough leave, however, we do know it will be available for use, provided an employee is furloughed for a minimum period of a week.

Further details of the changes to the Scheme, including the use of part-time furlough, are expected to be announced on 12 June 2020.

For more information contact Emma Swan in our Employment & HR department via email or phone on 0333 207 1154. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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