Who is eligible to claim from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? Any UK employer with a UK bank account will be able to claim.
Can I put all my employees on the scheme? For an employee to qualify they must have been on the payroll as of 28th February 2020. Employees can be on any type of contract, including a zero-hour contract or a temporary contract.
What happens if my employees are currently off sick or are self-isolating? If an employee is currently off sick or self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), they should continue to receive SSP (or company sick pay), but once their sick leave comes to an end, they can be furloughed.
Is there a minimum amount of time I need to furlough for? Yes, 3 weeks and up to a maximum of 3 months from 1st March at this stage, however, it may be extended.
What happens between employees going on furlough and the grant being paid? Initially we thought that this could be unpaid, however, now the government has said that the employee should be paid there 80% (up to cap of £2,500 gross) per month through the payroll. If businesses are struggling with cashflow, there is help available.
Can you furlough more than once? Yes, you can place an employee on furlough more than once, and one period can follow straight after an existing furlough period, while the scheme is open (3 months from 1st March).
What happens if an employee does not want to go on furlough? If you have asked an employee to go on furlough and they refuse, they may be at risk of redundancy or termination of employment, depending on the circumstances. From our experience, most people will prefer to receive 80% of their monthly salary, rather than the alternative.
What happens if I made an employee redundant after 28 February, but before the scheme came into play? As an employer, you can agree to re-employ the employee and place them on furlough instead. You will still be able to claim a grant to cover 80% of the monthly earnings, up to a monthly cap of £2,500 (gross).
What happens if an employee currently has more than one employer? An employee can be put on furlough by one employer and continue to work for another, if it is permitted within their contract of employment. If the employee is put on furlough by more than one employer, they’ll receive separate payments from each employer - 80% of their normal wage up to a £2,500 (gross) monthly cap applies to each job.
What happens if an employee is on Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Paternity Leave or Shared Parental Leave? If an employee is on maternity, adoption, paternity or shared parental leave, they should continue to get the relevant statutory pay and leave (or company entitlement, if relevant), but can be furloughed after returning from the leave.
What if an employee is currently pregnant and due to start Maternity Leave? An employee will start Maternity Leave as usual. If their earnings have reduced due to a period of furlough or sick leave prior to their Maternity Leave starting, this may affect their Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). The same principle applies to statutory adoption pay, paternity pay and shared parental pay.
What happens if an employee has been advised to isolate for 12 weeks as they are a ‘vulnerable’ person? There is no clarification at the moment on this, however, we assume that they will remain on sick leave and receive SSP for this period and will not be able to be furloughed.
Can an employee do any work whilst on furlough? Once furloughed, employees will not be able to work for their employer, but they can undertake training or volunteering, subject to public health guidance, so long as they’re not:
making money for their employer
providing services to their 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.