The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) allows employers to designate employees as ‘furloughed’ (subject to the employee's written agreement) and as such qualifies them to claim back up to 80% of the furloughed employee’s gross salary up to a maximum of £2,500 pcm.
(Please note that this is guidance aimed at employers, please check with the CSP if your particular query is not covered or you are unsure).
The scheme is currently scheduled to run until the end of October. Claims under the scheme can be backdated to 1 March at the earliest.
However, the scheme closed to new entrants from 30 June. From this point onwards, employers will only be able to furlough employees that they have furloughed for a full 3 week period prior to 30 June.
This means that the final date by which an employer can furlough an employee for the first time was 10 June, in order for the 3 week furlough period to be completed by 30 June. Employers will have until 31 July to make any claims in respect of the period to 30 June.
From 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the CJRS grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
From 1 July, wage caps are proportional to the hours an employee is furloughed. This means, for example, an employee is entitled to 60% of the £2,500 cap if they are placed on furlough for 60% of their usual hours.
However, if employees remain on furlough for 100% of the time the employer is obliged to pay 80% of the £2,500 until the scheme’s proposed end on 31 October 2020 (even though the amount the government will provide to employers is progressively reducing from September 2020).
For more details of how this flexible furloughing arrangement will work, please visit gov.uk's Flexible Furlough Scheme from 1 July.
Frequently asked questions
I have been furloughed. Can I work for my employer at all?
Prior to 1 July, it was not permissible to undertake any work for your employer which generated income for them.
The government has announced that it will be possible for furloughed employees to return to work on a part-time basis from 1 July 2020. You should be paid at normal pay rates for the days you work and furloughed pay rates for the days you do not work.
Last updated: 15.06.20
I have been furloughed. Can I work for another employer?
Yes, probably. It depends on your existing employment contract. Legally, employees remain employed during the furlough period so all contractual terms remain in force. So if your contract allows you to work for another employer, usually subject to your employer’s approval, then you can work elsewhere without risking your main employer’s right to claim your wage costs under the furlough scheme. The other employer cannot be linked or associated with your employer, e.g. a subsidiary or parent company or one in the same group of companies.
We would therefore advise that all arrangements for any secondary employment are agreed with your main employer.
Last updated: 20.04.20
Do existing benefits continue during furloughed status?
Yes, generally. As you remain employed and the employment contract therefore remains in place, all contractual benefits should therefore equally remain in place. Employees that have been furloughed are, as a minimum, entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay.
They also continue to benefit from other legal minimums in areas such as maternity pay and redundancy and will be able to pursue claims in the Employment Tribunal to enforce these where they do not receive their statutory minimum.
Other claims, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed or discriminated against, are not affected by the furlough scheme.
Last updated: 07.04.20
I am an apprentice in the private or charity sector. Can I be furloughed?
Yes. Providing you were on your employer’s PAYE payroll on 19 March 2020, apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and may continue to train while furloughed.
You must be paid at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage as appropriate, for all of the time you spend training, even if this is more than 80% of your normal wages.
Last updated: 20.04.20
Can agencies (and umbrella companies*) furlough staff?
Yes they can. The government Job retention Scheme rules do allow agencies to furlough staff.
However, we are aware of incidences where agencies supplying staff to NHS Trusts and other employers providing NHS services are neither furloughing staff nor paying them, when employment relationships have been terminated by the NHS employer at the outset of, or during, the Covid pandemic.
Whilst it is clear that the government Job Retention Scheme doesallow agencies and umbrella companies to furlough staff, confusion has arisen because the Scheme guidance states that employers “who receive public funding for staff costs” are “not expected” to furlough staff, but to “continue to pay them in the usual fashion”.
Agencies are interpreting this guidance as paying staff only for work carried out, and where no work is carried out, no pay is forthcoming, even if the agency arrangement has been ongoing for many months or longer. Regrettably this does appear to be an unclear element in the Scheme rules which allows agencies to interpret in this way, leading to staff receiving no pay.
However, it is the CSP view that where for example a Trust has indicated it has no further need for agency staff, the agency is no longer in receipt of public funding, and so there is no obstacle to them furloughing staff. We have also been seeking to have this clarified nationally.
Given there is no right of appeal against not being furloughed, staff in the position of having bank or agency work terminated and not being furloughed have limited options other than to seek to negotiate with the agency to change their mind.
Where members are in this position they should contact CSP Enquiries who will put them in touch with the appropriate officer to provide advice. As a last resort, the individual may contact the Department for Work and Pensions to apply for Universal Credit.
*An umbrella company is a directly-employing organisation that supplies staff to employers via agencies.
Last updated: 15.06.20
I am currently on statutory maternity/paternity leave and am due to return to work in the coming months. Can I still be furloughed after the cut-off date of 10 June?
Parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for furlough scheme, even after 10 June cut-off date. This also applies to people on adoption leave, shared parental leave, and parental bereavement leave. However, this will only apply if you work for an employer who has previously furloughed employees. Further information is available on the government web page about parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough.
(Last updated: 11.06.20)