Furlough: what the updated guidance clarifies, and what it doesn’t


This weekend, the government updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or furlough. How will the scheme work in practice? 

It’s one of the most commonly used words in our expanding coronavirus lexicon, but perhaps also one of the more confusing. Furlough, the term used to describe the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, now attracts more than 23 million results in a Google search and makes a daily appearance in the business headlines.

This weekend (4 April), the government announced updated guidance to the scheme, clarifying that organisations can re-employ people who were made redundant after 28 February 2020 so they will be eligible to receive 80% of their former salary. This also means that those who left to start a new job after this date can ask their previous employer to re-employ them so they can qualify for furlough support.

But despite some clarification, many employers remain confused about how the scheme will work in practice – from the situations in which furlough is appropriate to how the money will be reclaimed from HMRC. Below we outline some of the key elements of the scheme and what is known so far:

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

Announced on 20 March by chancellor Rishi Sunak, the scheme offers a grant from HMRC to cover 80% of salaries, up to £2,500 a month. The scheme is scheduled to last for three months backdated from 1 March 2020, but may well be extended.

Sunak said the grants would be available from 1 April, and the scheme aims to ensure that businesses impacted by the virus can furlough employees with financial support from the government rather than making redundancies. Furlough must be for a minimum of three weeks.

There is nothing to stop employers “topping up” the difference between the amount they are reimbursed by the government and full salary, but this will not be funded through this scheme.

The online service employers can use to claim furlough is not ready yet, but the government estimates this will be up and running by the end of April.

Who has used it so far?

Thousands of staff have been placed on furlough since the scheme was announced: British Airways announced it would furlough 80% of its staff (equivalent to around 36,000 employees) last week, while construction company Sir Robert McAlpine said it was preparing to do the same with around 50% of staff. Among the latest employers to announce it would be using the scheme is newspaper publisher Reach.

Diane Gilhooley, global head of employment, labour and pensions at law firm Eversheds Sutherland, has described the amended scheme as more like an “income protection scheme” rather than something to avoid redundancy, as its remit seems to be widening.

What if someone left after 28 February?

“The initial guidance on the scheme suggested that only employees made redundant since 28 February 2020 could be re-engaged by the employer and put on furlough,” explains Charles Wynn-Evans, a partner at law firm Dechert. “On this basis the scheme would not cover those who had resigned in the normal course – who of course could not be furloughed for the purposes of the scheme by their new employer as they would not have been on the new employer’s PAYE payroll as at 28 February 2020.”

The updated guidance from the government means that workers can be re-engaged and put on furlough even if they had not been made redundant, provided that they were still on PAYE on 28 February.

Can someone still work while on furlough?

If someone has more than one employer, they can be furloughed separately by each one. This also means that they can continue to work for another employer and receive usual wages if they have been furloughed by a different employer.

Employees can also sign up to volunteer while on furlough, as long as the organisation they’re working with does not generate revenue for that business.

What about employees who have caring responsibilities or who are sick or ‘shielding’?

Anyone who needs to stay at home because they are following public health guidance to self-isolate can still be furloughed if they are unable to work from home and “would otherwise have been made redundant”, says Wynn-Evans. The same applies for employees who cannot work because they have caring responsibilities (as children are no longer attending school and nurseries have closed).

Employees who are receiving sick pay while self-isolating cannot be furloughed, but can be furloughed once their isolation period is over, according to government guidance.

Does there need to be a consultation process?

Emma Ahmed, a professional support lawyer at Hill Dickinson, says that because most UK employment contracts will not contain provisions where an employer can force an employee to take a period of furlough leave, placing an employee on furlough will generally involve a temporary change of contract. If the organisation intends to pay less than full pay (ie 80% from the government grant and a top up from its own payroll), it’s recommended to get express agreement for the change.

She advises: “Employers should make sure any process followed is fair and involves consultation with employees; furlough leave should not be unilaterally imposed without consent.” Where a trade union is recognised, she adds, it should be consulted about the proposals.

Julian Cox, head of employment at iLaw, agrees that employees’ agreement must be sought as it involves a change in employment status. However, whether the typical collective consultation arrangements apply is unclear. He adds: “The guidance says that this process may be bound by the usual rules of collective consultation, which require an employer to consult with their team if more than 20 workers are affected,” he says.

“Unfortunately, the language used in the government guidance is far too ambiguous and it is leaving some employers uncertain of their responsibilities, which prevents them from taking the action they need. Companies want to take action on this now, but if they do not undergo the necessary process for consultation they may risk being found in breach of the regulations at a later date.”

Which aspects of pay are covered?

“What is and what is not going to be paid must be made clear at the time that furlough is offered to staff so that there is clear consent as to the terms of furlough and to avoid arguments about deductions from wages at a later date,” advises Linky Trott, head of employment at Edwin Coe. Employers can claim (up to the £2,500 cap) salary, past overtime where it is compulsory or “forms part of usual remuneration”, and compulsory commission payments, she says.

Not included are discretionary bonuses, tips, commission payments and benefits in kind such as company cars or health insurance. “Fees” have also been excluded from the scope of the scheme, although the government does not provide detail on what this term means. Furthermore, while many employers will choose to top up the 80% government grant to full salary, this is not compulsory. Ahmed adds: “It may also be possible to justify [topping up] for only part of your workforce, such as critical workers, but care should be taken to ensure selective top-ups are not discriminatory.”

What if an employee refuses to go on furlough?

Acas’s advice if an employer cannot reach an agreement on furlough is that they may consider changing the written terms in employees’ contracts. “If there are more than 20 employees affected, employers will need to consult staff representatives (‘collectively consult’),” the conciliation service says.

Ahmed at Hill Dickinson explains: “If more than 20 employees are involved, and a dismissal and re-engagement process might be followed if voluntary consent to the change is not forthcoming (to force the change through without agreement), then the employer will have a duty to inform and consult appropriate representatives (which may require an election to select representatives).” Because time is of the essence at the moment, it would be reasonable to shorten the typical consultation period of 30 or 45 days.

What about non-employees such as agency workers?

If agency workers are paid through PAYE, furlough arrangements should be agreed with the agency, who is the “deemed employer”. The updated guidance says that agency workers should not perform any work through that agency (including for other clients) while they are on furlough.

Workers operating through umbrella companies should contact their umbrella company for further guidance. The Freelance & Contractor Services Association is lobbying for the government to treat contractors who operate through umbrellas as “employees whose pay varies” (the same way as agency workers are categorised).

The government has now also clarified that those with the legal employment status of “worker” rather than employee are eligible for furlough support. This does not include self-employed independent contractors, who are instead able to apply for the chancellor’s self-employment support package.

Company directors can take furlough and continue to undertake their statutory duties “provided they do no more than this would reasonably be judged necessary for that purpose”, according to the updated guidance.

What about annual leave?

According to Acas, if an employee is furloughed, they can still request to take their holiday in the usual way. For those who are still working, the government recently announced that they could carry over up to four weeks’ paid holiday over a two-year period, providing they were not able to take holiday due to the coronavirus (they were sick, on furlough or had to continue working as they were a key worker).

When it comes to holiday that has already been booked by employees on furlough, the guidance is less clear, according to Simon deMaid at law firm Howes Percival. He says: “The current government guidance on the scheme states employee rights are not affected by being on furlough leave, suggesting holiday entitlement would continue to accrue as normal. However, the guidance is silent on whether holiday can be taken during a period of furlough leave and if so, what rate of pay the employee is entitled to receive while on holiday: their normal salary or the 80% furloughed rate.”

With Easter coming up this weekend, employers may well be wondering about how bank holiday pay arrangements will apply. Acas says that employees may still be required to use a day’s paid holiday if they are on furlough over the bank holiday. Those who are still employed, meanwhile, should get their usual pay for bank holidays.

Can we rotate furlough?

The updated guidance confirms that employees can be rotated on and off furlough, for example for a period of annual leave, to help employers avoid an accumulation of untaken leave. Wynn-Evans at Dechert says: “It is now clear that furloughing can be rotated across a group of employees.

“The updated guidance confirms that employees must return to work at the end of a furlough period and can be furloughed multiple times provided that each period of furlough is for a minimum period of three consecutive weeks.”

“It is now clear that furloughing can be rotated across a group of employees.” – Charles Wynn-Evans, Dechert

What about apprentices?

Apprentices are eligible for furlough in the same way as other employees. The updated guidance says that employers “must pay apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage as appropriate for all the time they spend training”.

This means employers must cover any shortfall between the amount they can claim for their wages through this scheme and the appropriate minimum wage.

What is still unclear?

As with any legislation or policy put together in such fast-changing circumstances, it is likely that some finer details remain unclear. Employment lawyers have pointed to the following remaining questions:

  • HMRC is yet to clarify what happens to staff that have been transferred to another business under TUPE after 28 February 2020. Can a new employer claim for reimbursement under the scheme for an employee who was furloughed at point of transfer?
  • It is not clear what happens to someone who becomes ill while on furlough (particularly if this is before the required three-week minimum): do they come off furlough and apply for sick leave?
  • What happens if employers decide to wait and see if they really need to place staff on furlough? Cox at iLaw argues that the legislation needs to be clearer on when the scheme can start and end. He says: “Businesses may wish to keep this scheme in reserve as a last option, but the rules are clear, the [scheme] is only currently open for three months, starting from 1 March. This may mean that those who wait may be penalised for trying to continue on as usual, while those businesses that decide to furlough earlier could be better off. This area of guidance could do with clarification and possible amendment to make it fairer for all.”

109 Responses to Furlough: what the updated guidance clarifies, and what it doesn’t

  1. Avatar
    Andy 6 Apr 2020 at 10:53 pm #

    Can employees be put on a Furlough with a deferred redundancy? Then if they are not needed at the end of the furlough they are made redundant without going through the consultation period?

    • Avatar
      Christopher Hurley 26 Apr 2020 at 8:04 pm #

      My recruitment agency are pretending they don’t have a clue about furlough what do I do???

    • Avatar
      Leanne 27 Apr 2020 at 1:06 pm #

      Did you get an answer to this? As my company have asked me to sign an agreement that states when furlough ends If there is insufficient work I agree that they are entitled to put me on short time or be laid off without pay

      • Avatar
        mich 26 May 2020 at 3:42 pm #

        you do not have to sign this. much depends on your contract and your length of service

    • Avatar
      G parry 10 May 2020 at 11:14 am #

      I’d really like to know this too. Did you find any information?

      • Avatar
        Suvd 26 Feb 2021 at 2:11 pm #

        I left company 31dec. I cant find job untill now i working from agency to get pay my bill. Can i get on furlought from my pervoiius company.

    • Avatar
      mich 26 May 2020 at 3:38 pm #


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      Jean 6 Jun 2020 at 4:55 pm #

      Hi there. I own a restaurant which we are reopening for takeaways until the government allows us to reopen fully. We asked a member of the kitchen staff who has been furloughed and receiving full wage for over two months to return to work. He refused because he said he had DIY to do at home! When we told him that was not a valid reason for not returning to work he handed in his notice!
      Does he have to repay the money he has received during furlough if he refuses to return to work?

  2. Avatar
    Laura 7 Apr 2020 at 1:43 pm #

    What if my boss is saying I need to continue working for the company in my same job whilst on furlough and call it volunteering for them.

  3. Avatar
    Mrs Craven 7 Apr 2020 at 5:25 pm #

    My daughter has been asked to do this, is it possible someone can reply to this question please. She is a support worker (mental health) and has been asked to sign a volunteer agreement while she is furloughed so she can still continue to work but unpaid. Should she sign this?

    • Avatar
      Jennifer Liston-Smith 14 Apr 2020 at 12:57 pm #

      All guidance – including this article, and the Gov.uk guidance below – suggests that ‘volunteering’ in one’s existing role is absolutely not in the spirit of what furlough is intended to achieve, so your daughter should not be asked to do that. If her work is currently required then that is not a case for using the furlough scheme, is my reading of it.
      “To be eligible for the grant, when on furlough, an employee cannot undertake work for, or on behalf, of the organisation or any linked or associated organisation. This includes providing services or generating revenue. Employers are free to consider allocating any critical business tasks to staff that are not furloughed…”

    • Avatar
      Mrs Michelle Wagstaffe 14 Apr 2020 at 7:42 pm #

      No, i don’t think she should because the government say that employees should not volunteer to work for their employers if that means the employer makes a profit from the work they are doing.

    • Avatar
      TG 22 Apr 2020 at 9:28 pm #

      Absolutely not. Guidance clarified that furloughed employees cannot for for the same employee nor his / her associated entities or groups at all.

    • Avatar
      mich 26 May 2020 at 3:43 pm #

      you should get someone to read the agreement. if she was employed she should be furloughed.

  4. Avatar
    Toby Montan 7 Apr 2020 at 9:59 pm #

    Where do I stand if I have children who are off school & need to be cared for, and my employer still wants me to work from home, even though I have requested furlough they state they are not in this scheme?

    • Avatar
      Jill Larken 11 Apr 2020 at 4:56 pm #

      It is up to the employer, not the employee, whether they furlough you or not. No harm in asking.

      • Avatar
        Michael 4 May 2020 at 6:07 pm #

        I am on a zero hour contract as I am a carer for my mother who is unwell since 2014 with breathing and mobility problems. My employer classed me as a key worker in March and said she would understand if I did not want to go into work but I need to for bills. Then in March I was told to stop work and the company will apply for furlough, I did not get any work for all of April then I was paid for 4 days work that I did in March, then was told I am not eligible for furlough and was told I am a key worker again and given just 2 days work.
        My job is usually an in store demonstrator for Asda but I have been given shelf stacking and tidying to do. I am grateful for the bit of work but feel messed around and think they could claim furlough but only have to pay me a couple of days to count as a wage, I am putting my elderly mother at risk but know if I turn down the work it is my choice and I will get in more debt.
        I am going to ask Acas what I can do. My employer knows that I have caring duties also.
        Also I have asked if I can wear a mask at work and was told I can’t unless it becomes compulsory by the government.

    • Avatar
      mich 26 May 2020 at 3:44 pm #

      every employer can claim this support. you should read the HMRC guidelines for unable to work due to caring responsibilities. and read ACAS guidance.

  5. Avatar
    Rose 8 Apr 2020 at 10:40 am #

    My umbrella company says that they still require conformation that umbrella workers are classified under the guidance as workers who have variable pay and that they are pushing hard to obtain confirmation from the treasury. But I understand that this information was already given out please can you confirm this.

    • Avatar
      micj 26 May 2020 at 3:47 pm #

      yes the guidance is clear from the outset. agency and umbrella workers are included

  6. Avatar
    Viv 8 Apr 2020 at 1:59 pm #

    I’m an agency worker and lost the job due to coronavirus the agency haven’t furloughed me as they don’t know how to apply for it with the government apparently the government has not agreed how it’s all going to work out or the how’s to claim for agency staff

  7. Avatar
    Eb 8 Apr 2020 at 2:38 pm #

    @Rose I am in the same boat, my umbrella company has been helpful in keeping me up-to-date. They are seeking further clarity from the FCSA and Gov as the treasury response is not clear cut with regards to Umbrella workers.

    I looked on the FCSA website today and this has given me some idea as to the issues particularly around ensuring Umbrella employees get more than just their basic wage (which is akin to NMW).


    I’m hoping that this will be clarified soon

  8. Avatar
    Ian 8 Apr 2020 at 3:12 pm #

    How will the scheme apply to casual workers in the public sector, for a local authority, where there is no opportunity for them to be redeployed to work involved in addressing the Coronavirus situation?

  9. Avatar
    Wendy 8 Apr 2020 at 4:16 pm #

    My husband is in this situation too.He worked 5-6 days every week since June 2020 via an agency in Glasgow.The business he was placed in has been closed due to Covid-19.The agency have advised that they are not furloughing my husband or any agency workers.My husband received wages through the agency payroll system,how can the agency now simply say they have no need to furlough their workforce?What can be done about this?

  10. Avatar
    Chris 8 Apr 2020 at 9:16 pm #

    My company is furloughing us, but say that we do not have to take it in consecutive weeks. We can take any 3 weeks until the end of the year. How is this possible and am I still eligible for unemployment?

    • Avatar
      S Smith 28 Apr 2020 at 12:06 pm #

      Employees can be furloughed multiple times provided that each period of furlough is for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks!!!!

  11. Avatar
    James Warren 9 Apr 2020 at 7:15 am #

    99% of agency workers are being told by the agencies although they are on paye because they can not cover their statutory costs i.e ni pension and holiday pay they choose not to furlough and the worker gets no choice Also because agencies can not get the funding from the banks because the have no invoice to raise to the client and the banks wont lend. I spoke to over 15 agencies yesterday and none of then have furloughed any staff which leaves thousands of uk tax payers that will not get a penny untill then government address this issue

    • Avatar
      Sarah Robinson 14 Apr 2020 at 2:23 pm #

      My brother in law is in a situation where the agency will only furlough him if the factory he was working in before all this provides a letter saying they will definitely take him back – obviously with everything going on they can’t confirm this so he’s scuppered! The agency has only furloughed one person based on needing this letter of confirmation! My sister works in the hospital and is a key worker so he needs to be at home to look after the children, they are in a pretty impossible situation.

      • Avatar
        Angela 14 Apr 2020 at 6:19 pm #

        My son in law is in the same position he works for an agency and the company he works at won’t provide a letter saying that they will set him back in when the virus ends, my daughter has just had a baby and is in maternity leave and they are struggling for money for bills and food because of this. Please would you let me know if you find a way through this as we are so worried

  12. Avatar
    Nicola Morgan 9 Apr 2020 at 9:51 am #

    Is there a definitive period of time employees have to work in between being fupoughed periods?. I understand that each period of furlough has to be a minimum of 3 weeks however can we be unfurloughed for 1 week and then re furloughed for 3 weeks?

    • Avatar
      trueriver 22 Jun 2020 at 6:01 pm #

      Did you get an answer to this, please? I have the same question

  13. Avatar
    ALan 9 Apr 2020 at 1:04 pm #

    I’ve been asked to return to work after the 3 week furlough, the company repairs cars and I delivery and collect them, if i dont i will not be paid and lose my job. can they doe this even if government extend the lockdown, I’m also a high risk due to my underlying conditions.

    • Avatar
      Kayleigh 15 Apr 2020 at 11:45 pm #

      Hi is it right for an employer to still process your full wage as normal when your been furloughed and will recieve 80% wage but obviously womt receive any money till grant comes through yet the employer is still processing wage HMRC even though employee hasnt been working.
      Hope that makes sense.

  14. Avatar
    Carole-ann 10 Apr 2020 at 1:28 am #

    Can you challenge your employer in relation to who they have decided to furlough… I.e 2 people carrying out the same role and only one required to work. 1 has caring responsibilities due to school closures, the other doesn’t (no health issues either)?

  15. Avatar
    David flanagan 10 Apr 2020 at 11:16 am #

    I have been asked to change my contract to reduced hours I have been there 18 and a half years Iam been asked to furlough but must do a new contract is this lega

    • Avatar
      R Wright 23 Apr 2020 at 6:44 am #

      Hi, I hope you are keeping well. Have you received an update on this issue?

  16. Avatar
    Wayne adams 10 Apr 2020 at 7:06 pm #

    I have been told to sheid as I am venerable by my doctor for 12 weeks but my company i work for is allowed to continue trading as they are a medical equipment manufacturer .I am a service engineer and they are refusing to furlough me but I cannot work from home as I repair and install machine on site .I have received my letter and forwarded it to my employer who now says I’m entitled to ssp for the 12 weeks but I’m not sick and they believe I cannot be furlough because the company is operating

  17. Avatar
    Kess oke 10 Apr 2020 at 10:27 pm #

    The fear of breaking the law is why I am asking this;

    While on furlough can I sign up to a new paid job?

    I understand, that the 80% might not meet my monthly budget.

    Wish I get answers to this concern.

    • Avatar
      Arwel Evans 30 May 2020 at 10:57 pm #

      Can I hand in a resignation while I’m on furlough

      • Avatar
        Lana 9 Jun 2020 at 12:33 pm #

        I am also interested about the same question

  18. Avatar
    Pamela game 13 Apr 2020 at 3:50 am #

    I can work from home but my boss wants me at work. I have a child of 7 who cannot go to school and my husband is a keyworker. Does my child have to go to school and can I be furloughed due to having to look after child.

  19. Avatar
    Niamh 13 Apr 2020 at 10:34 am #

    My company has said that I may have to pay back my furlough money if they do not get the grant from the government. I have worked full time for them for two years and they have been a well established company for over 30yrs. Is this something I will have to agree to? There will be no proof that they did or didn’t get the grant and this isn’t something the government have stipulated.

    • Avatar
      Charlotte 18 Apr 2020 at 4:43 pm #

      I’d contact gov.co.uk as that doesn’t seem right to me. Nor would it be fair for you to have to pay the money back when it’s up to the employer to sort the grant scheme out and ensure you get your 80% pay whilst on furlough! Best of luck!

  20. Avatar
    James jardin 13 Apr 2020 at 1:28 pm #

    What if someone is declaring furlough but still working self employed slamming benifits

  21. Avatar
    Ian England 14 Apr 2020 at 2:54 pm #

    My employer says they are putting me at risk of redundancy as they battle to reduce costs and headcount. They expect to expedite this quickly.

    Its true I have very liked work currently but my recent appraisal had no issues and identified work down the line. Clearly pre covid they didn’t intend or seek to make me redundant. Shouldn’t furlough be used now to protect me, it doesn’t preclude them from making me redundant when normality returns under usual channels.

  22. Avatar
    Alison 14 Apr 2020 at 4:12 pm #

    If somebody resign whilst the are Furlough, can I accept it? Would there be any come back.

  23. Avatar
    Anne 15 Apr 2020 at 6:50 am #

    I work at a GP Surgery as a Receptionist and want to be safe by stayingAt home and shielding with him, as he has had his 12 week isolation letter. I have been granted 4 weeks unpaid leave, when this is up I have asked if I can be put on Furlough leave, but as they are a Public Sector they are telling me they cannot get it. My question is, is this the correct advice? I thought they could. Any advice would be appreciated

  24. Avatar
    Geoff Wilkes 15 Apr 2020 at 11:51 am #

    My son wants to resign whilst on furlough as he has been offered a new job. He has been told that he must use up his holiday entitlement during his notice period. Can a company insist on this.

  25. Avatar
    Mark 15 Apr 2020 at 12:23 pm #

    I’m currently furloughed as we’re not key workers or an essential business, my boss now wants me to go back to work, am I allowed ?

  26. Avatar
    John perks 15 Apr 2020 at 1:23 pm #

    Can a company rotate staff who are not currently on furlough with staff who are currently on furlough.?

    Some on furlough Volunteered And some didn’t.?

    • Avatar
      David B 25 Apr 2020 at 9:26 pm #

      Every 3 weeks maybe which is the minimum term for furloughing.

      • Avatar
        Nikki 14 May 2020 at 11:43 pm #

        If I have been on furlough , can my manager call me today and tell me they are taking myself and 2 other staff off furlough and I have to go into work Monday? Even though I have in writing I am furloughed until the end of the month?

  27. Avatar
    Ciara 15 Apr 2020 at 2:32 pm #

    What happens when your old company deny you furlough even though you have left after 28th feb and yoir new job has deferred your new start date. Is my new company able to start me and furlough me I was due to start on the 6th april

  28. Avatar
    john 16 Apr 2020 at 2:45 pm #

    I got a letter saying got to sign a furloughed contract saying after we go back to work , if there is no work they can send me home with no pay only the £29 a day guaranteed payment.
    how do I stand…have I got to sign it?

  29. Avatar
    Jack 16 Apr 2020 at 2:52 pm #

    So I have been of on furlough for 3 weeks now. We have 2 kids and my Mrs is classed as a key worker looking after 3 service users from 1 house, her hours have been put up, leaving me to care for the children.

    But now my boss has called me today telling me that I have to go back to work on Monday as I have been on furlough for 3 weeks now. This is scaffolding by the way! Construction… The lockdown hasn’t even been lifted yet.. I just want to know where I stand with the law and him basically telling me I will be laid off or put on sick if I can’t come back to work.

    • Avatar
      Tony 22 Apr 2020 at 11:26 am #

      Im in same boat exactly that did you find out more about this perosnally think you can take as much parental leave as possible and also there is a option on the gov uk website which says this instance can be furloughed

  30. Avatar
    Charlotte 18 Apr 2020 at 4:31 pm #

    I understand the furlough scheme has been extended to end of June, so if I’ve been furloughed will I not be returning to work until the end of June or can my employer send me back to work before then? As I’m honestly confused by this while furlough thing.

    • Avatar
      Michelle 23 Apr 2020 at 5:22 pm #

      Your employer may choose to end tour furlough beanie the scheme ends – it is up to them whether they need you to work it but and if they claim for furlough or not.

      They should respect the government lockdown laws, but under that we are allowed to travel to work if required by our employer. Ideally your employer won’t ask you back unless absolutely necessary, but they can ask your back. The only restriction is furlough must be within the period specified by the government and a minimum of 3 weeks.

  31. Avatar
    Gillian Caudren 19 Apr 2020 at 8:22 am #

    I left my job on 12th March thinking I would get another job I am a cleaner Then of course with the lock down its not possible where do I stand

    • Avatar
      Michelle 23 Apr 2020 at 5:20 pm #

      Your previous employer may choose to re-hire you to put you on furlough, but they are not required to do so.

      • Avatar
        A 8 May 2020 at 5:43 pm #

        Michelle but this is another unfortunate problem. The employer in most cases will rehire and put the individual on furlough but what if they don’t act according to this and the moral expectation? There is no consequence, unfortunately I am in this position and have been left out completely. UC does not cover what the scheme would otherwise have provided support for.

  32. Avatar
    David Thonmas 20 Apr 2020 at 11:08 am #

    MY FURLOUGH will end on 22nd April.My consent to furlough states that I must return to work when asked to by my employer who clearly thought that the locKdown restrictions would have been relaxed by now..My partner works in a care home. I DO NOT WANT TO

  33. Avatar
    Guillaume Guilbert 20 Apr 2020 at 11:43 am #

    I am a chef agency worker and my agency say that they will not furlough me because they are still in operation. They say I don’t qualify because,1 I didn’t work 35h a week for 1 years, or 2 I didn’t work for the same job for 12 weeks consecutively. I get my salaries via paye system and haven’t been offered any work since the 15 of March. Is this gov policy.

    • Avatar
      Michelle 23 Apr 2020 at 5:17 pm #

      As I understand the issue with agency workers and those on variable contracts (such as zero hours), you do not have to have been working 35h. You do need to have been employed by the agency on the 28th February, and then they should be able to claim for 80% of your average monthly income from the point you were employed – if you’ve been with them less than a year. If you’ve been with the agency over a year you’d be entitled to 80% of your earnings this month last year.

      That is from the gov.uk website. Sadly it is still up to the agency if they decide to claim.

      • Avatar
        Guillaume Guilbert 25 Apr 2020 at 2:36 pm #

        Thanks for the reply. I asked my agency for more clarity. They say the extras requirements are companies policies and the scheme is optional so they will not furlough me.

      • Avatar
        Lee 4 May 2020 at 4:30 pm #

        Hi Michelle, I’ve been working through an agency, paid through umbrella company for 3 years solid four the same end client. My furlough pay has only recently been agreed but they’re basing the 80% on national minimum wage. I earn close to £18.00 ph. Hope can this be. I am paye not a sub contractor and the government have all my tax records for this entire time. This is criminal. Don’t get me wrong I’m thankful for anything coming in right now but surely this can’t be right? I’d this across the board do you know or just specific to my umbrella company. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

  34. Avatar
    Andrew Burgess 22 Apr 2020 at 6:46 am #

    Can we as a collective branch be forced onto furlough even though we have a stand up/down agreement and a flexible working hours bank, as we have expressed we would rather continue with our contract of employment and stand down for 3 weeks as opposed to losing a portion of our wage and be laid off through furlough, as there is concern we may lose certain employment rights whilst on furlough

  35. Avatar
    Sue 23 Apr 2020 at 11:21 am #

    Hi. My friends company has put about 12 of its staff on Furlough & are now offering remaining workers overtime, is this legal?

  36. Avatar
    Brenda Buhwa 23 Apr 2020 at 11:41 pm #

    I resigned to go to a new job but that fell through due to covid19 my last employment will not furlough me even tho I was still on there paye on the 31st march

  37. Avatar
    nads 24 Apr 2020 at 12:44 am #

    I have been furloughed since the 23rd of march but it seems that my employers have taken two weeks worth of holiday from my holiday balance but unpaid. Can they do that?

  38. Avatar
    Teresa Matthews 24 Apr 2020 at 10:33 am #

    My husband was Furloughed from 26th March, today he received a letter from the hospital saying he is high risk and should stay home for 12 weeks, can he remain on furlough? I’m finding it very worrying and confusing.

  39. Avatar
    Joe 24 Apr 2020 at 6:36 pm #

    My brother work as a support worker and he has asthma. His GP refused sending him fit note because he has not been admitted into intensive unit for his asthma. He uses a steroid powder inhaler and sometimes take steroid tablets when his inhaler don’t work and during asthma attack. Can his employer still furlough him under the scheme even without the fit note saying he had to self isolate. He has been shielding for the past 4 weeks.

  40. Avatar
    mary 27 Apr 2020 at 12:47 pm #

    just a question if i’m allowed – I am working from home – the demand of the business is very slack, however my boss has threatened to furlough the staff which are still working and replace with the staff who are on furlough most of which are new recruits- is there a notice period of intent or can this be done immediately – the behaviour is most threatening, bullying and most intimidating

  41. Avatar
    Sam 27 Apr 2020 at 8:25 pm #

    What about when your employer wants a furloughed worker to return to work but in my job it is impossible for him to keep us 2 metres apart in what is classed as a non essential business (a takeaway) what are my rights if I don’t feel safe returning to work as I am shopping for my parents and in laws who are self isolating due to health issues?

  42. Avatar
    Lorraine 28 Apr 2020 at 6:59 pm #

    Hi My Employer is looking at reopening and only 2 of us will be working in shop at the moment. I am currently on Furlough. Is it right that if I go back and the shop recloses again I will not be able to claim Furlough again

    • Avatar
      Jan 29 Apr 2020 at 6:26 pm #

      I volunteered to do a 45 day furlough. I am in a union. I will be called back after the 45 days in order of seniority, which is fine. The employers will run the plant with a limited workforce. My question. What if the employer is using this just to get the COVID relief and the employees that stayed are working overtime to fill our gap. Should I have the ability to go back if others are doing overtime to replace me?

  43. Avatar
    Mel 30 Apr 2020 at 11:43 am #

    I have worked for an umbrella company on a zero hour contract for the last 3 years on a PAYE, I meet all criteria for the furlough scheme however my company wont place me on furlough. They have given the reason of once furlough ends, they can’t guarantee hours within a certain time frame as it depends on the end user’s needs. This does not differ to our current contract terms or I assume any zero contract hours work schedule. The current policy does not stipulate that this is an eligibility criteria and I think it is going to be a grey area of consistency within scheme and needs to be addressed as this could affect all zero contract workers with an umbrella agency. Is there anything currently published that addresses this within the scheme as even the HMRC has advised there isn’t and have referred me to the technical team but I wanted to ask just in case.
    Many thanks

  44. Avatar
    Felicity Threlfall 30 Apr 2020 at 3:48 pm #

    My husbands is currently furloughed from a car salesroom and they want to phase back staff 11th may or 28th june, we have a 9 year old daughter who is not a school and I work from home already however they are putting pressure on him to return in 11 days time saying that if he doesnt come back he is refusing to return from furlough in which case he could be refused and end up without a job. They want him to make a decision before Boris announcement of whether work can start up again and before we know whats happening with schools!!!!!

  45. Avatar
    Elliott 30 Apr 2020 at 10:22 pm #

    My contract ended on March 31st but the agency have said in writing that there is insufficient work moving forwards due to the coronavirus. They’ve told me that as this was a fixed term contract and I knew this would end in February that I am not entitled to be furloughed, but the information I’m reading suggests otherwise. Not really sure what to do as I’ve now been without an income for four weeks.

    • Avatar
      KP 3 Jun 2020 at 2:11 am #

      Did you ever get an answer to this?I’m facing same situation…my contract ends this month and theres no work available so have been told that’s it my furlough ends…I temp for a govt agency too and they’re not looking out for us at all

  46. Avatar
    Sarah 2 May 2020 at 11:47 am #

    Hi, I’m looking for some advice, I work as a consultant for a firm who also use associates. I and the only other employee omhave been placed on furlough. But I’ve since become aware my employer is still using associates to work. Is this right can they do that?

  47. Avatar
    Martin Williams 4 May 2020 at 6:36 pm #

    Can I claim furlough if I am on a state pension

  48. Avatar
    Sonya Moses 4 May 2020 at 7:00 pm #

    What if you work 2 jobs, one furloughed their employees, the other continue paying regular wages although they’re not working, but says, and I quote “but you’re not unemployed”.
    When following the process for claiming unemployment, it appears that all current employees are considered. In this case, should one apply so as to not lose benefits from the furloughing company or not?

  49. Avatar
    Susan 6 May 2020 at 8:12 am #

    I am supposed to be on furlough and
    Have no letter from my boss in writing
    Yet and the government want to wind down the furlough. . Have I still got a.job to go to has I am a cleaner there is a man doing my job at the moment when I work I normally do morning s.and he does after noon shift

  50. Avatar
    Sara 7 May 2020 at 7:08 am #

    My husband is currently on furlough but is desperate to resign from the company he works for. He has been told he will be given 24hrs notice for when he needs to return to work. He wants to send a letter of resignation while he is on furlough but that could be loss of furlough funds? Can he resign when they ask him to return to work? I’m trying to work out the best course of action. Any advice would be good please.

    • Avatar
      Karen 29 May 2020 at 10:42 am #

      My son is in the same position

  51. Avatar
    Lorraine 9 May 2020 at 10:05 pm #

    My employer has asked me to identify commercial online training courses to do whilst I’m furloughed and he would pay for them. The trouble is i don’t know what he expects and I’m home schooling 2 kids age 10/11. Unfortunately he isn’t the easiest of managers and I’m suffering bad anxiety due to his approach and he seems to ignore boundaries. Shouldn’t my manager identify training requirements and advise me what he wants…?

  52. Avatar
    Eamonn John Liddle 12 May 2020 at 8:58 pm #

    can a company furlough employees and hire in sub contractors

  53. Avatar
    Brian 13 May 2020 at 8:37 am #

    I’m a 67 year old partime worker. I have been told I must shield because of my partner’s illness . Can I be furloughed because of my partner.

  54. Avatar
    Richard Barham 20 May 2020 at 11:02 am #

    I have been asked to do some cleaning and minor maintenance work at my company which is not my normal role. I am furloughed as it is not possible to do my current teaching role at the moment. The building will be empty and obviously will not be generating revenue for the company. Is this allowed whilst under Furlough?

  55. Avatar
    antony bale 21 May 2020 at 1:00 pm #

    I am being paid fully by my company until the 7th June. after that being told I will then go onto SSP. This will financially cripple me. could I be furloughed going forward until I can go back to work

  56. Avatar
    Mary 21 May 2020 at 11:37 pm #

    I have been working 29 hrs a week for about 5 years and after business started to drop off due to coronavirus in Feb I kindly dropped my hrs from the 1st March to 23.5 hrs .. I have been furloughed on my 23.5 hrs I’m just checking as a few friends said I should of been furloughed on my 29hrs wage…

  57. Avatar
    Lancashire 22 May 2020 at 11:59 am #

    My son works at the Cartford Inn in Little Eccleston Lancashire yesterday his boss rang to say she was unfurloughing him and not paying him his May salary. This is a clear breach of her own furlough contract. Despite having a Deli, shop and takeaway business that are all open and doing very well ( she constantly uses WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter to say how much they are taking). She stated that she cannot afford to pay the contribution towards his holiday pay,£4! The kids are all temporary staff and too worried to say anything as they know that if they do they will not be re employed when this is all over.
    Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.

  58. Avatar
    stephen levis 23 May 2020 at 2:15 pm #

    I started a part time job in January 80 hrs a month , when we went into shut down, my employer told me I was not entitled to be furloughed, because I had not signed a contract. Can anyone help clarify this matter please.

  59. Avatar
    Lynne Kirkley 27 May 2020 at 4:25 pm #

    My mum has been told to isolate for medical reasons (incurable cancer of blood and bone marrow) which has now been extended from 15th of June to 30th june. Her work has told her they will not pay furlough after 15th as it’s her choice to return or not. Is this right?

  60. Avatar
    Malcolm Mortimer 30 May 2020 at 1:33 pm #

    What if you are a care worker and you go sick. My friend is only receives sick pay whilst others get furlough and are not even at work? Thank you.

  61. Avatar
    Martin 2 Jun 2020 at 2:47 pm #

    After my 12 weeks of being furloughed and shielded are up how will I know if I’m going to be shielded again after the 12 weeks who makes a decision me my work Or doctor nhs

  62. Avatar
    Kevin 3 Jun 2020 at 11:52 am #

    Can my employer use agency workers in place of permanent employees even though they (the permanent employees) are still furloughed.

  63. Avatar
    A C 3 Jun 2020 at 11:10 pm #

    Hello, I started a new job in retail on the 16th of March. Before that, I worked for another company for 12 years. My new employer told me today that they have to terminate my employment, to cut costs. What are my options? This is a very distressing situation, with serious financial repercussions for my family.
    Thank you.

  64. Avatar
    Jason 4 Jun 2020 at 9:45 pm #

    I have been on furlough for 10 weeks 4 days. My employer has asked me back to work tomorrow. Can they claim for 4 days furlough and then pay my one days wage which I am going to work? Or will I loose the 4 days furlough as it’s not a full week? Don’t want to get a low wage next week coming off furlough and only reveivjmg a days wage.

  65. Avatar
    Jane 8 Jun 2020 at 12:33 pm #

    I am sheilding via the official request letter. I have had sick pay up until now but now need to use my holidays to ensure I get paid. My company said I can’t be Furloughed while sheilding but not sure this is correct and what to do if they won’t ..Thank you

  66. Avatar
    Brenda Landess 9 Jul 2020 at 3:14 pm #

    I’m in same position my employer wouldn’t furlough me even though I have a letter I only get ssp as there still open they never shut down due to covid 19 is this fare

  67. Avatar
    Annette 16 Jul 2020 at 3:24 pm #

    Can my employer inform me of their new Offices where I will work after furlough.
    No work asked of me.

    • Avatar
      Paul webster 19 Jul 2020 at 7:51 pm #

      I work in the construction industry and have been fuloughed since April I am an employee . All the time since April sub-contractors have been doing the work , is this legal ?

  68. Avatar
    Molly 21 Jul 2020 at 2:02 pm #

    My husband is 72 years old, fit and healthy. He still works full time at local college.
    In march he was put on furlough on account of his age.
    This week he was back at work only to be told that he has lost the majority of his holiday entitlement which was 34 days. He can carry 5 days over to the next year which starts 1st August and the rest he has lost.
    His line manager has told him his holidays where taken while he was on furlough can any explain to me how this can be right.
    We both stayed at home following guide lines only going out for food ( as could not get any food delivery) once every two weeks

  69. Avatar
    Narindar Rull 15 Aug 2020 at 7:28 pm #

    I’m a manager in a concession in a large department store, and i work with one part timer, for a large cosmetic company.

    I’ve been furloughed since mid March. We’ve been made redundant. Over 100 people from other concessions from the same employer have been made redundant.

    I know the “one establishment rule” means there has to be over 20 of us for a collective redundancy.

    However as we’ve been furloughed, and our establishment has now been closed to us, our establishment is in question. Is it our head office from where over 100 of us receive constant calls and emails from since the commencement of furlough??

    We have been furloughed for over 90 days so our establishment during furlough has been our home, so surely this now means a collective redundancy should of been done?

  70. Avatar
    martin rogers 28 Oct 2020 at 8:25 pm #

    if i am on furlough and my employers ask me to attend a meeting to discuss my job contract
    is this classed as a business meeting and against furlough rules

  71. Avatar
    Tracie 12 Nov 2020 at 7:32 am #

    I’ve been told i’m on furlough for the foreseeable but have been asked to go in to work on the odd days as and when they need me, am i allowed to do this?

  72. Avatar
    Belinda 23 Nov 2020 at 1:45 pm #

    My daughter and her partner have not yet been paid any ferlough money for this present lockdown they are in the hospitality industry she is still on maternity leave when will they get their money they have bills , rent and a baby they have spent all their savings now this doesn’t seem fair on them

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