Government job retention scheme mark II: flexible furlough

July 1, 2020
Government job retention scheme mark II: flexible furlough

On Friday 12 June, the government released more detailed guidance on how the job retention scheme is changing. And this applies to all industries, including the renewables sector.

While it would have been less frustrating to have the information released in a single easy-to-read document rather than the somewhat piecemeal approach, this is nonetheless an important update for any employer that plans to rely on the scheme from 1 July.

Much of this has been trailed earlier by the chancellor including the gradual imposing of employer contributions (commencing 1 August) but here are some of the other highlights —

 

  • To be eligible, an employee must have been previously furloughed for at least three consecutive weeks at any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020 (as opposed to having to be furloughed as at 30 June). Accordingly the scheme is closed to new entrants
  • The maximum number of furloughed employees an employer can claim for in any claim period from 1 July cannot exceed the maximum number of employees furloughed in any period up to 30 June. So there’s a new cap
  • There are exceptions to both the eligibility rules and the new cap in the case of employees returning from maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave — if the leave began before 10 June 2020 and the return was after that date
  • Thirty-first of July is the deadline for employer claims for any period ending on or before 30 June
  • After 1 July, employers cannot make claims that cross calendar months. They will need to make a separate claim for the period up to 30 June
  • From 1 July, claim periods must be for a minimum of seven calendar days
  • For furloughs commencing after 30 June, employers will be able to “flexibly furlough” employees by splitting their normal working hours into periods of furlough and periods of paid work. Employers should keep accurate records of the work pattern
  • From 1 July there is no minimum period of furlough. The three-week rule no longer applies if the furlough begins on or after that date

Lots to consider, but the new flexibility and removal of the three-week rule will be particularly welcomed by many employers. However any change to an employee’s hours of work, and any return to furlough, should still be agreed with the employee.

Please remember that the agreement should be captured in writing.

Inverness-based partner Kirk Tudhope heads the Ledingham Chalmers’ employment law team, he regularly represents employers, including private and public sector organisations, at employment tribunals.

Get in touch

The team at AREG is committed to ensuring that businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire capitalise on opportunities in renewable energy and that our members achieve success in this rapidly growing market. Please contact us with your news, views, concerns and successes so that we are well placed to deliver on your behalf.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.

All-Energy

Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.

Vattenfall

Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise