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CJRS: Chancellor announces flexible furloughing and employer contributions

01 June 2020
The Chancellor has outlined the updated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("CJRS") with maximum flexibility for employers to allow Britain to get back to work.  

 The CJRS has helped one million employers across the UK furlough 8.4 million jobs, with a total value of claims worth £15 billion. With a focus on "careful but deliberate steps to re-open the economy" the Chancellor has set out how employers can help to contribute to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Further detail can be found in the government's news story and accompanying factsheet.  

Flexible furloughing

From 1 July 2020 (one month earlier than previous announced) employers will have the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back into the workplace on a part-time basis. The Chancellor gave the example that an employee could be brought back two days per week with the employer paying the wages for this work and then the employee could be furloughed for the remainder of the week with the tax payer meeting the cost. The government has made it clear that employers will be responsible for paying wages whilst the employee is in work. The factsheet provides the following additional information:

  • Employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift patterns, while still being able to claim a 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. 
  • To be eligible for the grant, employers must agree with their employee any new flexible furloughing arrangement and confirm that agreement in writing. 
  • Employers will need to report hours worked and the usual hours an employee would be expected to work in a claim period. 
  • Further guidance on flexible furloughing and how employers should calculate claims will be published on 12 June 2020. 

Closure to new entrants from July 

The Chancellor announced that the CJRS will be closed to new entrants from 30 June 2020. Further detail has been provided in the factsheet:

  • From 30 June 2020 onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full three-week period prior to 30 June 2020. 
  • The final date an employee can be furloughed for the first time will be 10 June – allowing for a three week furlough period to be completed by 30 June 2020. 
  • Employers have until 31 July 2020 to make a claim in respect of the period to 30 June 2020. 
  • Further clarity is provided making it clear that from 1 July the CJRS will only be available to employers that have previously used the CJRS in respect of employees that have previously been furloughed. 
  • Claim periods will no longer be able to overlap months from 1 July 2020 to reflect the changes to the CJRS. 

Tapered employer contribution to CJRS 

From August 2020 the CJRS grant will be tapered to reflect the phased return to work:

  • June and July – The government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2500 as well as employer National Insurance contributions (ER NICs) and pension contributions for the hours the employee does not work. No change.
  • August – The government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2500 and employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions for the hours the employee is furloughed. 
  • September – The government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2187.50 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total, up to a cap of £2500.
  • October – The government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1875 for the hours the employee does not work. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total, up to a cap of £2500. 
  • The cap will be proportional to the hours not worked. 
  • Employers are still able to choose to top up employee wages beyond the provision of the CJRS. 
  • The Chancellor announced that the CJRS will close at the end of October


The emphasis of the announcement from the Chancellor was on getting the economy back on track and returning to some kind of normality. Many employees are understandably keen to the return to the workplace in order to receive 100% of wages. With a focus on health and safety employers need to take steps to returning their workforce to a COVID-secure workplace. The flexible arrangements which will come into effect will allow employers to take a considered approach to returning to work, facilitating the re-opening of the economy. Flexible furloughing will allow employers to stagger the return to work, allowing essential social distancing measures to be carefully implemented and stress tested. As the UK is preparing for the "new normal", the CJRS will continue to support employers albeit with a gradual reduction in assistance from August. 

If you would like any further information with regard to the issues raised in this update please contact your usual DWF contact or another member of the Employment Team

Key Resources

Factsheet on updated CJRS
Government CJRS guidance for employers 
Government CJRS guidance for employees 
The Coronavirus Act 2020 Functions of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) Direction - 20 May 2020
The Coronavirus Act 2020 Functions of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) Direction - 15 April 2020 
Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Government step by step guide on CJRS for employers 
Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - access to Gateway 
Acas Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for employers and employees
Pensions Regulator Guidance 

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