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7 Apr 2020 - News

Furlough information

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Check if you’re eligible

Your employer is responsible for claiming through the Job Retention Scheme on your behalf and for paying you what you are entitled to. You cannot apply for the scheme yourself.

Both you and your employer must agree to put you on furlough — so speak to your employer about whether they can claim. Once agreed your employer must confirm in writing that you have been furloughed to be eligible to claim. Contact your employer if you do not receive confirmation.

If you are concerned that your employer has claimed on your behalf but is not paying you what you are entitled to as described in this guidance you should raise this with your employer in the first instance, then with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

Any employer with a UK payroll and a UK bank account will be able to claim, but you must have been on your employer’s PAYE payroll before or on 28 February 2020. You can be on any type of contract, including a zero-hour contract or a temporary contract. You can be furloughed under the scheme if you are a foreign national.

This scheme does not apply if you are self-employed or to any income from self-employment. You may qualify for support under the self-employment income support scheme.

If you’re on sick leave or self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), speak to your employer about whether you’re eligible – you should get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) while you are on sick leave or self-isolating, but can be furloughed after this.

If you are shielding in line with public health guidance or required to stay home due to an individual in your household shielding and are unable to work from home, then you should speak to your employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough.

If you are unable to work, including from home, due to caring responsibilities arising from coronarivus (COVID-19), such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in your household, then you should speak to your employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough.

The grant will start on the day you were placed on furlough and this can be backdated to 1 March 2020.

If you were made redundant or stopped working for your employer after 28 February 2020

Your employer can agree to re-employ you and place you on furlough. They’ll still be able to claim a grant to cover 80% of your regular wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500 if you were on your employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020.

If you currently have more than one employer

You can be put on furlough by one employer and continue to work for another. If you’re put on furlough by more than one employer, you’ll receive separate payments from each employer. The 80% of your regular wage up to a £2,500 monthly cap applies to each job.

How much you’ll get

Your employer will get a grant to cover 80% of your regular wages, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Firms will be eligible for the grant from the date you ceased work, from 1 March. Your employer:

  • will pay you at least 80% of your regular monthly wages, up to a maximum of £2,500, as your wage
  • can claim for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks and for up to 3 months – but this may be extended
  • can choose to pay you more than the grant – but they do not have to
  • cannot choose to pay you less than the grant

You’ll still pay Income Tax, National Insurance contributions, Student Loan repayments and any other deductions (such as pension contributions) from your wage.

How your monthly earnings are calculated

If you’ve been employed (or engaged by an employment business in the case of agency workers) for a full year, employers will claim for the higher of either:

  • the amount you earned in the same month last year
  • an average of your monthly earnings from the last year

If you’ve been employed for less than a year, employers will claim for an average of your regular monthly wages since you started work. The same arrangements apply if your monthly pay varies such as if you are on a zero-hour contract.

If you started work in February 2020, your employer will pro-rata your earnings from that month.

The grant paid to your employer will be calculated based on your regular, contractual pay, such as wages, compulsory commission and past overtime. The calculation will not include discretionary commission (including tips) payments or bonuses, non-cash payments or benefits in kind.

Whilst you’re on furlough

Once you are on furlough you will not be able to work for your employer. You can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as you’re not:

  • making money for your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer
  • providing services to your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer

If workers are required to, for example, complete training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least their appropriate minimum wage (NLW, NMW or AMW) for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

Whilst furloughed your employer cannot ask you to do work for another linked or associated company.

If your contract allows, you may undertake other employment while your current employer has placed you on furlough, and this will not affect the grant that they can claim under the scheme. You will need to be able to return to work for the employer that has placed you on furlough if they decide to stop furloughing you, and you must be able to undertake any training they require while on furlough. If you take on new employment, you should make sure you complete the starter checklist form with your new employer correctly. If you are furloughed from another employment, you should complete Statement C. Any activities undertaken while on furlough must be in line with the latest Public Health guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Your employer can still make you redundant while you’re on furlough or afterwards.

Your rights as an employee are not affected by being on furlough, including redundancy rights.

If your employer chooses to place you on furlough, you will need to remain on furlough for a minimum of 3 consecutive weeks. However, 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 3 months.

If you do not want to go on furlough

If your employer asks you to go on furlough and you refuse you may be at risk of redundancy or termination of employment, depending on the circumstances of your employer. However, this must be in line with normal redundancy rules and protections.

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