Full details are now available on the more flexible version of the government’s furlough scheme so that employers can start to bring staff back to work.

From 1 July, companies can bring back any employee for any amount of time and on any work pattern and then claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for the hours that staff do not work.

The new flexible furlough scheme can be used only for employees who have been on furlough for a continuous period of at least three weeks between 1 March and 30 June.

Under the revised arrangements, employers will start sharing responsibility for the cost of furloughing staff in increasing amounts from August onwards.

The government will contribute 80% of wages up to £2,500 in July and August and then 70% up to £2,187.50 in September and 60% up to £1,875 in October. However, furloughed employees must continue to receive 80% of their wages up to £2,500 per month from July to October.

In July, the government will continue to cover National Insurance and pension contributions under the scheme, but that will stop from August and revert to being the responsibility of the employer.

The current minimum furlough period is three weeks but from 1 July that will be reduced to just seven days.

The first time that employers will be able to make claims for days in July will be on 1 July, and not before. Claims for periods ending on or before 30 June must be submitted by 31 July.

Once a new work pattern has been finalised, employees must agree to the new arrangements in writing.

Visit the government website for more details at gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.