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Gloucestershire Business News

Another layer of complexity to furlough leave - Nigel Tillott of Davies and Partners

The Government has issued further guidance on how furlough leave will work from July 1 when it is possible to furlough an employee on a part-time basis.

By now you will be aware that the changes are hardly likely to be straightforward.

Broadly, if an employee has not been furloughed - June 10 was the deadline for first entering the scheme - a business will not be able to add them at any future point.

There is an exception for those returning from various forms of family friendly leave - maternity, adoption, shared parental, paternity or parental bereavement - provided it started before June 10, finished after that date and the individuals are on the business' PAYE payroll on March 19.

From July 1 the total number of employees on furlough leave cannot exceed the maximum on furlough leave at the business during any previous claim period, although returners from family friendly leave can be added to this number.

From the same date, there will be no minimum furlough leave period although employers will only be able to claim at their payroll intervals.

And it will be possible to bring an employee back on a part-time basis with the employer responsible for paying the employee in full for the hours worked.

An employer can be flexible in relation to those hours and they can vary, although the employee does need to agree in writing to the flexible furlough arrangements.

That is the easy bit. The calculation of the furlough pay is not so easy.

For an employee with fixed hours, HMRC will look at those worked in the pay period prior to March 19 and compare the hours worked in the period claimed for and the government contribution will be calculated based on the difference.

For those working variable hours, HMRC will take the higher of the average hours worked in the previous tax year or the hours worked in the same pay period for the previous year in undertaking the calculation.

The trouble is that it will not be HMRC which will be doing the calculation in the first instance.

All the best to those that have to do it manually.

There is a worked example on the Government website, but all this does is show how complicated it is.

In the example given the employee had a fixed 40-hour week and has been asked to work four hours per day, five days per week.

Applying the 80 per cent rule payment due when he was on full-time furlough would mean £2,400.

You might think that on the basis that he is working half time the furlough payment would be £1,200, but that is, of course, too simple - the answer is £1,159.55.

I will leave you to go to the website to see how this figure is worked through.

Employers have needed encouragement to get employees back on a part-time basis for some time rather than encouragement not to provide work to employees.

The complexity of the calculation is a shame.

For more advice, or to find out about the services Davies and Partners can provide to your business, visit daviesandpartners.com  or call 08000 151 212.

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