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Flexible furlough scheme starts

01 July 2020

Businesses and facilities will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work part time from 1 July as part of the government’s plan to re-open the UK.

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has so far helped protect more than 9.3million jobs through the pandemic, with employers claiming more than £25.5billion to support wages.

The scheme will remain open until the end of October 2020 and will continue to support jobs and business in a measured way as people return to work.

From 1 July employers will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis. Individual firms will decide the hours and shift patterns their employees will work on their return, so that they can decide on the best approach for them - and will be responsible for paying their wages while in work.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said: "Our number one priority has always been to protect jobs and businesses through this outbreak. The furlough scheme, which will have been open for eight months by October, has been a lifeline for millions of people and as our economy reopens we want that support to continue.

"Giving firms the flexibility to bring back furloughed workers on a part-time basis will help them work gradually and help them plan for the months ahead."

From August, the level of government grant provided through the job retention scheme will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. Businesses will be asked to contribute a modest share, but crucially individuals will continue to receive that 80% of salary covering the time they are unable to work.

The government has also announced that businesses that no longer need the CJRS grants they previously claimed have the option to voluntarily return them.

This is in direct response to employers asking how they can return grants voluntarily – and businesses are under no obligation to do this, but should contact HMRC if they want to pay the grant back.