2.8 million workers in 387,000 businesses had been furloughed within three days of the scheme opening to applications.
Employers might need to put some or all of their employees on temporary leave (‘furlough’) during the coronavirus pandemic. Furlough is where an employee or worker agrees in writing with their employer that they’re not to work temporarily because of coronavirus.
All non-essential premises must now be closed. This includes:
This might be a difficult time for both employers and staff. It’s a good idea to make sure staff have a way to communicate with the employer and other people they work with.
Who can be furloughed
Any of the following can be put on furlough, whether they work full time or part time:
Employers can also furlough those who are temporarily unable to work because:
Putting staff on furlough
Employers must select people for furlough in a fair way to avoid any discrimination.
If someone disagrees with their employer’s decision about being selected for furlough or how much they’ll get paid, they should talk to their employer and try to come to an agreement.
Any furlough agreements should be in writing. It’s a good idea to include:
Claiming through HMRC’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Employers can claim for up to 80% or £2,500 of furloughed workers’ wages.
For an employer to claim through the scheme, they must have:
The furloughed worker must have been on their PAYE payroll and included in a ‘Real Time Information’ (RTI) submission to HMRC on or before 19 March.
Claims can be backdated to 1 March 2020.
Topping up wages to 100%
The employer should decide whether they’ll top up furloughed workers’ wages to 100%, but they do not have to. If the employer decides not to top up the wages, they should explain why.
Minimum wage during furlough
If furloughed workers are paid 80% of their wages through HMRC’s scheme, this might mean they get less than the minimum wage. This is allowed as long as they’re not working.
But if someone does any training for their job during furlough, they must get the current minimum wage for those hours. For example, if an apprentice continues with their apprenticeship while furloughed.
If someone was made redundant or left their job on or after 28 February 2020
An employer can decide to re-employ someone who was made redundant or stopped working for them on or after 28 February 2020, then put them on furlough.
This can be done even if the employer does not employ them again until after 19 March 2020.
The employee must have been:
If you need employment law advice then contact SHU Law’s employment lawyer Mark Serby on 01142255891/ 01142256666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.