10 June 2020 marks the final date by which employers may furlough employees for the first time within the timeframe of the current minimum three-week furlough period that ensures eligibility for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS will close to new entrants on 30 June 2020.
However, on 9 June 2020, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak MP announced that parents on statutory parental leave, who return to work after a long period of absence, can be furloughed by their employers under the CJRS for the first time, even if they return to work after 10 June 2020. The only exception is that the employer must have previously claimed under the CJRS for other employees, to be eligible to make a claim.
The chancellor said:
When I announced these changes to the furlough scheme last month, I was clear that we wanted to do this in a fair way, that supports people back to work as the country begins to re-open following coronavirus.
But for parents returning from leave, their circumstances has meant that they are still in need of support, and I’m pleased that they will be able to receive the financial assistance they and their family will need.
Employees on statutory parental leave include individuals on:
- maternity leave;
- paternity leave;
- adoption leave;
- shared parental leave; or
- parental bereavement leave.
More details regarding the upcoming changes to the CJRS are expected to be published on 12 June 2020.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.
Carrie-Ann Hopkins is a paralegal in the London office of Ogletree Deakins.