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Today is estate agencies’ last chance to furlough staff before scheme winds down

The complicated rules governing the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme mean companies need to start planning ahead carefully from today onwards.

Nigel Lewis

furlough

Today is the last chance estate agency owners have to furlough retained staff before the scheme closes to new entrants on July 1st.

Companies can furlough staff for a minimum period of three weeks and therefore today is their last chance to take advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant.

From 1 July until the end of October, estate agencies can bring employees back to work part time that have previously been furloughed, while still being able to claim the grant, a move designed to incentivise companies to ease staff back into employment.

From this point onward, estate agencies will only be able to add staff to the scheme if they have been furloughed for a full three week period before 30 June and will have to make any claims before 31st July.

“What will make a difference is that employers now know they can bring people back part-time, so there’s some flexibility on how they use it,” Alison Loveday, partner at law firm Kennedys, told Personnel Today.

“Employers know they can use the part-time option to get employees who may have been away for a while re-acquainted with work.”

During June and July, HMRC will continue to pay 80% of remaining furloughed employees’ wages up to a cap of £2,500, as before.

But from August, the government payments will be the same as before, but estate agencies must cover national insurance and pension contributions.

From September, the 80% will drop to 70% and then to 60% in October, after which agencies will have to chip in 20% of a employees wages as well as paying NI and pension contributions.

It is then expected that, assuming the economy is recovering adequately, the furlough scheme will end in October.

Read the full government guidance.

June 10, 2020

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