Updated guidance from HMRC states childcare staff can be placed on furlough more than once.

HMRC has clarified that childcare staff can be placed on furlough more than once, giving nurseries the flexibility to ‘unfurlough’ and ‘refurlough’ staff when practitioners are off sick or in self-isolation.

The updated guidance for employees on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, published on Thursday 2nd April, stated:  ‘Your employer can place you on furlough more than once, and one period can follow straight after an existing furlough period, while the scheme is open. The scheme will be open for at least three months.’

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers for at least three months, starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

To access the scheme you will need to:

  • Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change – changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)
  • HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

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