In a speech given on the 29th May chancellor Rishi Sunak announced some significant changes to the furlough scheme for employers and employees. This included outlining the plans for tapering the furlough scheme after a total of eight months to end in October and that furloughed workers can go back to work part-time from the 1st July.
Mitrefinch covers the essential information for employers regarding this new flexible furlough and what you need to take action on now to get the maximum benefit for the remaining five months of the scheme.
The Story So Far
In mid-March, lockdown measures saw the closure of non-essential businesses and the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that 29% of firms have had to temporarily cut staff to try and keep afloat. This has left not only businesses, but also individuals, struggling and with economists forecasting a severe recession following the COVID outbreak, returning to “normal” is likely to take much longer than initially expected.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) Supporting Businesses
To date, the furlough scheme has covered up to 80% of workers’ wages, with some employers choosing to “top up” their workers’ wages if the climate allowed. The furlough scheme will remain as it is now during June and July, with no change to government contributions towards wages, and no requirement for employers to contribute.
However, from August, employers will be asked to pay a modest contribution towards their furloughed workers’ wages. The contribution will begin at just 5% of the total employment costs covering national insurance and pension contributions whilst the taxpayer contribution remains at 80%.
In September, as changes to workplaces and business practices are rolled out, the amount employers will be contributing will rise to 10% whilst the taxpayer contribution drops to 70%. Finally, by October the government will pay 60% and employers will pay 20% and at the end of October, the scheme will officially end.
Flexible Furlough Scheme Launching 1st July
During this time, a new “flexible” furlough scheme will be introduced starting not on the 1st August as initially planned, but the 1st July. This means that employers will have maximum flexibility to decide on the safest and most suitable arrangements to re-onboard workers.
The government guidance for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was updated on the 29th May and explains that:
“From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours; employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.”
This means that employers now have one month to apply for support through the new scheme. If you miss the deadline of the 30th June then you will only be able to furlough employees that have previously been furloughed for a full three week period.
As an example, if you wanted to bring back an employee to work two days per week then you, the employer, would pay your worker for those two days, with the government job retention scheme paying them for the remaining three days.
This step is deemed critical for kickstarting the economy and allows businesses to acclimatise to the new working practices and change in the purchasing, and working, landscape. This also eases concerns over childcare, and makes social distancing in places of work much easier due to the ability to introduce shift patterns and rotations for your workforce.
Flexible Furlough: Be Prepared
In order for the new flexible furlough scheme to work, employers are required to formally track and report accurate employee working hours. Without this, you will not be able to recover and claim your employees wages through the CJRS. HMRC also reserves the rights to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim.
To ensure your compliance and maximise the financial support that your business is eligible to receive from July 1st, businesses need to ensure that they have the right technology in place to facilitate this new way of working.
Act Now: Technology to Support New Working Practices
The Coronavirus outbreak has forced many companies to quickly adapt to a new way of working. Flexible hours, managing a newly remote workforce, and navigating unplanned absences have presented a challenge for those who have, perhaps, dragged their heels when it comes to updating the management of their workforce.
With the flexible furlough scheme being introduced a month earlier than planned, and with applications for the new scheme opening as of the 10th June, there is still time to act to implement intelligent technology platforms which will make the next five months much less burdensome on your administrative staff than it needs to be. A small investment now will make a big difference in just a few short months.
Tried-and-Tested Time and Attendance Software
Time and attendance software will play a critical role in the accuracy of your workforces’ records and compliance with the government requirements which make you and your business a candidate for financial support.
Our time and attendance software is designed to reduce the friction of managing a remote, flexible, workforce. Over the span of forty years, we have worked incredibly hard to refine, optimise and streamline our software to reduce the burden of remote workforce management administration and minimise the risk of errors which, especially now, could be incredibly costly to businesses of all sizes.
It is one of the most powerful pieces of software on the market, and will help you ensure that you are not risking your eligibility for financial support due to inaccurate, or poorly maintained, employee attendance records.
The software is intuitively designed to help you manage attendance, absence, shifts and flexible hours furlough reports and payments both on a person-by-person basis and delivering an overview of your entire workforce at a glance. Whether you have a workforce of 50, or 500, the clever automation features and self-serving interface is designed with your business needs in mind. Read our success stories to see how we’ve helped businesses like yours thrive.
What Can Time and Attendance Software Do?
Our cloud-based time and attendance systems and software are heavyweights in the workforce management world. Within our systems you can:
- Manage and monitor absences
- Keep track of staff who are shielding or self-isolating
- Monitor COVID-19 related absences
- Support furlough reporting to help make claims
- Manage time and attendance of your workforce
- Keep track of shift patterns and flexible working hours on a case-by-case basis
- Automate attendance reports including sickness
- Monitor and adhere to industry and workplace compliance regulations
- Align your workforce with your operational goals
- Publish important documents and updates
- Streamline repetitive tasks such as data deletion requests
- Allow employees to submit timesheets, access schedules and clock-in and out remotely
- Integration with our payroll, HR and access control solutions for 360 degree seamless workforce management
Our time & attendance software is fully customisable to accommodate the way your business works to deliver the perfect package for your needs both short-term and long-term.
From First Contact to Implementation in as Little as Two Weeks
If you were thinking that implementing a time and attendance system and getting your workforce setup would take months, we’re here to tell you the good news. Our cloud-based time and attendance system can be up and running in as little as two working weeks.
Book a Free Virtual Demo and Discuss Your Needs Today
Complete our contact form today and a member of our team will contact you within 24 hours to arrange a no-obligation, free, virtual demo of our time and attendance software. See everything that our system is capable of. Discuss your unique challenges with us today and we’ll supply you with a set of recommendations and a bespoke quote to get you up and running quickly.
If you are concerned about managing your workforce during this time, we can help assess your current workforce management solutions and can even get time and attendance systems up and running in under two weeks. Talk to a member of our team about your unique challenges today to understand how we might be able to help you.