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COVID-19. FAQs The Furlough Scheme

Some of the common questions we are asked about the scheme

29 Mar 2020

Our clients are asking us practical questions about the new Furlough Scheme (also known as the CJRS).  Here we provide the answers to some of the common questions.

You may also find our blog The Furlough Scheme Explained of interest

There have been further important developments which we published on 6 April 2020,to the scheme please read them here 

Can I ask my employees to answer the phone and reply to e-mails whilst Furloughed?

No you cannot, no work can be administered by the employee whilst Furloughed, but the employee can undertake training, or become a volunteer to be eligible for the grant,

Can I negotiate Furlough with all of my employees on the payroll as I have no work for them?

You must remember any employee hired after 28 February 2020 cannot be Furloughed or claimed for in accordance with CJRS.

I would like to claim the 80% grant whilst my employees are Furloughed, however I would not want them to lose salary. Can I still pay them the usual salary they are contractually expecting to receive whilst claiming the grant?

Yes, an employer can choose to top up to 100%, but is not obliged to under this scheme (subject to employment law and renegotiating any contractual entitlements)

I have a staff member who refuses to be Furloughed, what should I do?

If your employee refuses to be Furloughed they may be at risk of redundancy or termination of employment, depending on the circumstances. However, this must be in line with normal redundancy rules and protections

Can I stop reporting my employees on the payroll, and on RTI whilst Furloughed?

No you cannot. You must report the employees on the payroll as usual, with the pre agreed Furlough rates of salary. RTI continues as usual throughout.

Can I ask my employees to take annual leave whiles Furloughed?

Furloughed and annual leave are completely different periods of leave, and must not be confused.

You can Furlough for a period of three weeks then switch to annual leave, and then back to Furlough again, but the period of annual leave must be paid at contractual salary and not pre agreed Furlough rates of pay.  It is only the period of Furloughed leave that can be claimed back in the grant.

Is it true that employees cannot be made redundant if Furloughed?

Not true. Employers can still make employees redundant while on Furlough or afterwards.

Employee rights are not affected by being on Furlough, including redundancy rights

When my employees are Furloughed what employment rights do they have?

Employees who have been Furloughed have the same rights as they did previously. That includes Statutory Sick Pay entitlement, maternity rights, and other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and to redundancy payments.

Once the CJRS has been closed by the government, HMRC will continue to process remaining claims before terminating the scheme.

I have employees on unpaid leave, can they be Furloughed?

Employees on unpaid leave cannot be Furloughed, unless they were placed on unpaid leave after 28 February.

Some of my employees have more than one job, can they be Furloughed on each job?

If an employee has more than one employer they can be Furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually.

What do I need to keep to prepare my claim, after my staff have been Furloughed?
  • your PAYE reference number
  • the number of employees being Furloughed
  • the claim period (start and end date)
  • amount claimed (per the minimum length of Furloughing of 3 weeks)
  • your bank account number and sort code
  • your contact name
  • your phone number

You will need to calculate the amount you are claiming. HMRC will retain the right to retrospectively audit all aspects of your claim. And it is through that HMRC will look at your February RTI transmissions for validity of salaries claimed.

How often I will be able to make a claim?

When the scheme is up and running, you can only submit one claim at least every 3 weeks, which is the minimum period of time an employee can be Furloughed. Claims can be backdated until the 1 March, if applicable.

If you have a question about the Furlough Scheme that is not covered about, please get in touch with your usual Alliotts partner

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