How Long is the Scheme Running for?
This scheme started on March 1, 2020 and is open to all UK employers until June 2020, although the Chancellor has stated that it could be extended. The minimum amount of time you can be furloughed for is three weeks. This can be broken up over the course of the next three months.
What Happens if I have Been Recently Made Redundant?
All businesses can access the scheme, whether the virus has negatively impacted them or not. It’s also available to those on zero hour or temporary contracts and those who have recently lost a new job.
The Government says workers who were made redundant prior to 28th February can be re-employed and placed on furlough instead. The grant will still cover their wages for this period so they won’t be left without an income.
Will my Boss Definitely Cover the Extra 20%?
No. This is at your employer’s discretion and an increasing number of firms are now saying they won’t fund the top-up. This means employees could find their wages sliced by 20% – though this should only be temporary.
What if I Refuse to Accept a Pay Cut?
Many businesses are choosing this method because they don’t have the funds to pay their staff during the pandemic. For many, the only alternative would be to let go of employees, as they simply cannot afford to pay their wages.
How Do I Claim Furlough Wages?
You don’t need to do anything. It’s your employer’s responsibility to apply for the scheme, and ensure that 80% of your wages are paid to you. Legally they must inform you that you’re being placed on furlough, and then they must inform HMRC through a new online portal. HMRC will pay your employer the grant to pay staff costs.
“Our Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is protecting thousands of jobs up and down the UK – with the government covering 80% of the salary of furloughed workers.” – Treasury spokesman.
When will Furlough Staff be Paid?
The portal your employer will use to register your furloughed status will not be up and running until the end of April. This means you will not be paid until then.
Alternatively, your employer can choose to pay you as normal – and then claim the money back from the Government at a later date. However, this is at their discretion and subject to whether they can afford it.
Will my Annual Leave be Affected by Furlough?
Employees who haven’t taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to coronavirus will be able to carry over up to four weeks of unused leave over into the next two years of annual leave.
Full time employees working five days a week must receive 28 days or 5.6 weeks paid annual leave a year. Part-time staff is also entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid annual leave but this will be fewer than 28 days.
Can I be Furloughed if I Have More Than One Job?
If you are working for more than one employer then you can be furloughed for both your jobs. Consequently, if two employers furlough you, you are eligible for government support amounting to up to £5,000 per month. Each job is separate and the £2,500 cap applies to each employer specifically. You can also continue working one job while being furloughed on another.
Can I Work for Another Company if I’ve Been Furloughed?
Being on furlough means that legally, you are still employed. Accepting another job may therefore be a breach of your contract with your employer. If you want to take on some temporary work, you should contact your boss or the HR department at work to check your contract. It may be open to negotiation.