Furlough: employers may re-employ staff who left after 28 February

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Employers can re-employ people who were made redundant or left their organisations after 28 February 2020 and make a claim for their wages, the government has clarified in its updated furlough scheme guidance.

Although staff who were not on the payroll after 28 February are not eligible for furlough pay, the update to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance notes that people who were furloughed after starting a new job after this date can ask their previous employer to re-employ them in order for them to receive 80% of their former salary which the organisation can claim back from the government.

It has also been clarified that employees can start a new job for another employer while on furlough, but only if contractually allowed by the organisation that has put them on furlough.

Staff may be furloughed multiple times; for example, if they are furloughed for a minimum of three weeks, they may return to work for a period and then be placed on another furlough period of at least three weeks.

Employers can also reclaim 80% of “compulsory” commission back from HMRC, as well as basic salary. However, this is likely to relate to commission earned before the employee went on furlough, as they are not allowed to work under the scheme.

Diane Gilhooley, global head of employment, labour and pensions at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, said the scheme now started to look like an income protection scheme rather than a redundancy avoidance scheme.

“The Job Retention Scheme was originally announced with the aim of helping employers severely affected by the pandemic to preserve jobs and avoid redundancies. The updated guidance restates the original purpose, but then extends the scheme to situations falling outside this purpose,” she said.

“Some employers are already uncertain about whether they can or should be using the scheme and these mixed messages about the purpose of the scheme may add to that confusion. Employers do not have to rehire and many will conclude that the spirit of the scheme, the use of public money and the complexities that can arise on a rehiring, mean it is not in their interests to do so.”

Gilhooley was disappointed that the updated guidance did not expressly clarify whether holidays can be taken during furlough leave without jeopardising the claim for reimbursement of wages.

“However, the updated guidance does confirm that employees can be rotated on/off furlough and indicate that employers will be able to bring workers off furlough leave for a period of annual leave and then return them to furlough leave. This will help employers to avoid an accumulation of untaken leave which would then have to be taken when normal working can resume,” she added.

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14 Responses to Furlough: employers may re-employ staff who left after 28 February

  1. Avatar
    Mary 7 Apr 2020 at 7:41 pm #

    I worked for Dorothy Perkins on a fixed term contract – my employment ended on the day we closed due to the coronavirus, they give me my notice that day .I have be told that I will not be furloughed and I am certain that if we had not closed I would still be employed. My manager did not want to give me my notice but she had no other choice. I cannot get in touch with HR…what can I do?

  2. Avatar
    Tiziano Senese 8 Apr 2020 at 1:00 pm #

    I signed a contract on February with starting day on 16th of March but I didn’t start due Covid virus. My employer made me furloughed. Am I entiteled to the job retention scheme? If not am I going to be able to claim anything? I work in hospitality. Thank you in advance.

    • Avatar
      Luke 24 Apr 2020 at 2:40 pm #

      If you was not on a PAYE submission to HMRC prior to the 19th March you would not be eligible for the CJRS.

  3. Avatar
    Chloe Taylor 20 Apr 2020 at 6:22 pm #

    Hi, I worked at Starbucks for a long time and have always worked. This has all happened at a very rubbish time for me:( I left starbucks on 23rd February so just before 28th February and I started my new job the next day but they never put me on payroll, they paid me through their business account through bank transfer, so I have proof I have been working. I’m not sure what/ if I can claim

    • Avatar
      Luke 24 Apr 2020 at 2:39 pm #

      If you was not on their PAYE payroll and an RTI submission to HMRC prior to the 19th March you would not be eligible.

      Luke

  4. Avatar
    Richard Blackmore 30 Apr 2020 at 11:20 am #

    Hi,

    I left my previous employer at the end of March 2020, and was due to begin a new role in the second week of April 2020. Due to covid-19 my new role start date was delayed. Can my previous employer re-employ me and place me on furlough?
    If so, my previous employer are still concerned about a potential future HMRC investigation and also believe there may be an issue around holiday pay, such as having to pay this at 100% rather than at 80%.

    Many thanks

    • Avatar
      SIMON LEE 3 Jun 2020 at 7:01 pm #

      I’m the same.. but INCHCAPE did not contact me I had to contact a manager who rang another manager and the answer was no we ain’t going to hire anyone back for the scene

  5. Avatar
    VeeJee 30 Apr 2020 at 11:41 am #

    Hi, I was on a fixed term contract until 13/03 for a maternity cover, I am now out of a job as there is not many jobs available on the market.

    Could my old employer re hire me and furlough me , if not what are my options?

    Thank you,

  6. Avatar
    Abdel 1 May 2020 at 4:42 pm #

    Hello,

    In February I left my previous jobs on the 14th of the month and started my new one on the 17th of the same month.

    My current employer only paid me 80% of what I worked for him in February (10 day) so it’s means I just received 43% of my salary

    How could I claim the 37% remain ?

  7. Avatar
    Sandeep Matta 5 May 2020 at 9:53 am #

    I got sacked but my employer can he still pay me under the job retention scheme.

  8. Avatar
    Simon 12 May 2020 at 4:14 pm #

    I got laid off on the 13th Feb with a weeks notice and got paid on 26th Feb which means I was still on their payroll. Should the company be able to furlong me?

    Thank you.

  9. Avatar
    Xavier Barlow 22 May 2020 at 9:18 pm #

    Hi,

    I left my job in early February, but my last paycheck from them was on February the 28th, am I eligible for the Furlough scheme?

  10. Avatar
    Claire Louise 27 May 2020 at 3:57 pm #

    Hi, I have had an immediate pay cut and not furloughed (remaining colleagues in my department have been furloughed).

    Company said they cant put my salary back up (Im doing 3 peoples work and extra costs incurred working from home – electricity).

    They have now employed a new member of staff who is to start next week on his original agreed contract from months ago. Is this even legal for them to use the Furlough scheme (furloughing half the company) and continue to employ new staff?

    Thanks in advance.

  11. Avatar
    Lidia 27 May 2020 at 8:19 pm #

    Hi, I was dismissed on 2 April on an appraisal/salary review meeting. I was reassured numerous times that our jobs are safe at least until we had the furlough scheme open to us, as a result I rejected a promising job offer on 20 March. Other colleagues were furloughed, I wasn’t given an option. No concerns were ever raised verbally or in writing about my performance until that day. I was paid all the bonuses I was targeted on since I joined the company, the last one being two days prior to my dismissal.
    A few days prior to that a comment was made by my line manager that I had my child (4 years old) in the room where I was working. He said that his kids were not allowed in the room where he is working, when actually a week ago they were in the room with him when we had a video call.
    I’m now left with no income when using furlough wouldn’t cost them anything.

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