FURLOUGH was such a foreign word to us just last year.
But now, months on from the start of the Covid pandemic, the term has become all too familiar as the UK grapples with trying to keep Brits employed during the lockdown.
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But what is flexible furlough and what are the rules?
What is the furlough scheme?
Under current rules, employees on furlough get 80% of their usual salary, up to £2,500 a month, for hours not worked.
This is expected to continue until July, when bosses will then be asked to start contributing costs until the scheme finishes in September.
Furlough was due to stop at the end of April, meaning it will last an extra five months beyond this date.
According to the UK Government, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has so far helped protect more than 9.3 million jobs.
What is flexible furlough?
Under flexible furlough, employees were allowed to be brought back to work on a part-time basis.
The scheme, which was introduced in July last year, means it is up to employers to decide how many hours staff will work - and employees should be paid full wages for this time.
Meanwhile, the Government said it will continue to pay 80% of the worker's salaries for the hours they don't work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
To calculate what your part-time furlough pay should be, read our explainer here.
What are the rules?
Employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts can be put on flexible furlough as long as they were employed and on the payroll from 30 October 2020.
Employers have the option to top up the furlough pay to 100 per cent but it's not a legal requirement and they don't have to.
Meanwhile, the employer will need to keep the written agreement over flexible furlough after coming to a decision with the employee.
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They will also need to keep records of how many hours the employee has worked and how many hours they are furloughed.
Furthermore, the number of workers an employer can put on furlough will be capped at the maximum number it has previously claimed for.
The maximum number of employees that company can claim furlough for at any one time was capped at 50 from July last year.