COVID-19 – What is flexible furlough?

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Flexible furlough is a scheme introduced by the UK Government to allow employers more flexibility over the working hours of their furloughed employees. 

Previously, employees who were placed on furlough were not legally allowed to complete any work for their employer.

The flexible furlough scheme allows employees to work on a part-time basis, with the remainder of their normal working hours subsidised at 80% by the Government. 


How can I place an employee on flexible furlough? 

As an employer, you will need to provide a written confirmation to your employee of the flexible furlough arrangements you intend to make. This will still be required if your employee has already been placed on furlough, as Government guidance refers to a flexible furlough arrangement as a new agreement. 


It is advised that employers notify any employees they intend to place on a flexible furlough arrangement first via telephone, before following this up in writing via email or letter. As an employer, you should endeavour to outline the basic details of the new furlough agreement, including which hours the employee will be required to work and which hours the employee will remain furloughed for. 


If you require assistance in drafting a new flexible furlough agreement, please contact our offices on 01282 433241. 


How do I calculate pay for employees who have returned to work under the flexible furlough scheme?

Employees who are working in accordance with a flexible furlough agreement are entitled to their full contractual pay for the hours that they work. The Government will then subsidise the remainder of their wage for the hours that they do not work at a rate of 80%, as in the original furlough scheme arrangement. 


Will employees still accrue holidays whilst on flexible furlough? 

For employees who are on full-time furlough or a flexible furlough arrangement, holidays will be accrued in the same way, at the full rate of pay. 

If an employee who is working on a flexible furlough arrangement decided to take any of their furloughed hours as holiday, the employer would then be responsible for paying their full wage in accordance with their contractual rate for those hours. 


What records will I have to keep? 

The records you will need to keep are similar to those for the original furlough scheme, which are records of: 

  • The amount claimed and the claim period for each employee 
  • The claim reference number 
  • Usual working hours 
  • Actual working hours for employees who are on flexible furlough 


You should keep these records on file for at least six years

It’s also advised that, unless the working hours are made clear within the written agreement, a written record of hours, or a timesheet for furloughed staff, is kept on file and retained with other records. 


For further advice relating to furlough arrangements or any other matters of employment law, please contact our team on 01282 433241.