UK Government Support for Job Retention | Furloughed Employees
If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’. Check if you are eligible below.
You could get paid 80% of your wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.
You’ll still be paid at least 80% of your wages by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough. We expect the scheme to be up and running by the end of April.
Check if you’re eligible
Both you and your employer must agree to put you on furlough – so speak to your employer about whether they can claim. You cannot apply for the scheme yourself. Once agreed your employer must write to you confirming you have been furloughed to be eligible to claim.
Any UK employer with a UK bank account will be able to claim, but you must have been on your employer’s PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020. You can be on any type of contract, including a zero-hour contract or a temporary contract.
This scheme does not apply if you are self-employed or to any income from self-employment.
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, 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.
If you currently have more than one employer
You can be put on furlough by one employer and continue to work for another, if it is permitted within your employment contract.
If you’re put on furlough by more than one employer, you’ll receive separate payments from each
How much you’ll get
Your employer will get a grant to cover 80% of your monthly earnings, up to a maximum of £2,500. Firms will be eligible for the grant once you have been furloughed, from 1 March. Your employer:
- will pay you at least 80% of your usual monthly earnings, up to a maximum of £2,500, as your wage
- can claim for a minimum of 3 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
You’ll still pay Income Tax, National Insurance contributions and any other deductions from your wage.
If you are concerned that your employer is not paying you what you are entitled to then you should raise this with your employer in the first instance, then with Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).
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 monthly earnings 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.
Bonuses, commissions and fees are not included as part of your monthly earnings.
While you’re on furlough
Your employer will need to notify you before putting you on furlough.
Once you are on furlough you will not be able to work for your employer, but you can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as you’re not:
- making money for your employer
- providing services to your employer
If workers are required to for example, complete training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.
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 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.
If you require advice about these measures please contact our corporate team on [email protected]