Help for employers during the coronavirus

Coronavirus is having a significant impact on businesses in the UK. Many have had to suddenly close or reduce their services.

For some, the pandemic has led to total closure. For others, it has led to a fall in demand.

To help, the government has put in place support to protect jobs, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Through the furlough scheme, businesses can grant staff a leave of absence and reclaim up to 80% of their wages.

How the scheme works

  1. The scheme opened on April 10, giving employers grants to help pay workers during the crisis.
  2. It applies to workers who were on PAYE by 19 March 2020, through HMRC’s Real Time Information (RTI) system.
  3. The current scheme pays 80% of an employee’s wages, up to £2,500 per month, until the end of July. Employers can top up the remaining pay if they wish.
  4. Grants are paid within six days of a claim.
  5. Workers must be on furlough for at least three weeks.
  6. Employees can be furloughed for further periods without needing to return to work first.
  7. At present, there is no minimum period for a worker being taken out of furlough before being furloughed again.
  8. The scheme will be more flexible from August. Workers will still receive 80% of their wages, but businesses may have to contribute. Staff will also be able to return to work part-time. More details about the changes are still to come.
  9. Workers can be furloughed if
    • they are vulnerable and isolating for 12 weeks
    • they were made redundant after 28 February 2020 and then re-hired
    • they have been on sick leave and are now well enough to work.
  10. An employee on furlough cannot work at all for that business.
  11. People on furlough can work for other employer(s), if they have more than one job.
  12. Workers can start a new job with another employer, and still receive furlough pay for their main job. They can also do voluntary work or be self-employed.
  13. The worker must agree to the furlough and have it in writing.
  14. Employers must top up wages to 100% for annual leave and Bank Holidays taken during furlough.
  15. Workers who normally accrue holiday keep doing so while on furlough.
  16. An employer can make a worker take annual leave. It doesn't matter whether they are on furlough or not. A business that requires its workers to take leave must give them advance notice as required by law.
  17. Plans are to close the scheme at the end of October.

Employers can apply to HMRC online. For more information, call 0800 024 1222, Monday to Friday, from 08.00 to 16.00, or go to GOV.UK.

(Please note that the information above was first published on 13 May 2020 and updated on 21 May 2020. We are committed to updating it as circumstances change.)

Running a small business?

You can find some facts that we think matter if you have your own business and think you’ve got a legal issue. There is also practical help  and tips to help you get the support you need to sort things out.

Learn more about legal issues and your small business

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Your Comments

Kevin thatcher says:

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 12:09
my company that I work for say they can't furlough me as I'm on probation is this true???

Maria Pickford says:

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 14:30
My boss put me on falough on the 23 march 2020 but when I received my pay he only payed half of my wages my contract hour's are 36 a week
When I phone him he said he lost one of the contract I clean for
So I've spoke to him and he said if he doesn't get payed I dont so I contact usdaw and they spoke to him and he said to usdaw he would sort asp those was on the 17 april 2020
But on the 22 of april 2020 I received a letter in the post with a contract with reduced hour So I contact the union I've put a greviace in
We give him 4 diffent dates and times for meeting vial phone and he chooses not to answer me I've try contacting hmrc as I should get 80 per cent of my wages I cant pay any Bill's and I'm struggling
The reason why he falough me is due to I come in the vunerable group as I have copd and asthma
Please can you help as all thise stress as cause me to be I'll with singles I've been to the doctor

Sarah williams says:

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 17:04
I furloughed both my staff on May 13th but still haven't received any payment from the government??

Jinny says:

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 17:44
Hi thanks fir this. I am on furlough but we have just been sold I'm now on what they call TUPE we are supposed to get payed friday 22.5.20 do you know if they have to still pay us as its gov money. Thanks

Lynsey Holland says:

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 20:24
I have been furloughed but I was off on maternity leave last year for 8 months so I am not getting g 80% of what I usually earn. Is there anything I can do as I am struggling on a very low income now!

Tony sheard says:

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 20:55
What happens at the end of furlough can they lay u of with no pay or if they make u redundant how much would employers have to pay if this happens

Alice Mcintosh says:

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 23:30
Fourlong my company as said thay don’t do it .. it’s Heath and social care . We on zero contract I have been on front line now been it with illness that’s affected me to go work of sick my boss said I can’t claim this is this correct please as just can’t unsteady wy not .. I am employed as Heath and social care ... 9 years and no help ... thank you stay safe

Anne says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 05:35
My Husband is vulnerable can I be be furloughed as I would hate to pass it onto him

Deborah ford says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 06:14
Is it possible you could help me. I am a 60yr old, with type 2 diabetes, taking 4 different lots of medication for this. I work in a care home where several of the residents have Covid 19, therefore on finding this situation I informed my employer that I would not be able to work due to my medical condition, as I would be a vunrable person on catching this. I was told that I could not be furloughed, and I could not get sick pay. Could you possibly tell me what I am legally entitled to, as I now have no wages coming in. I thank you for your help and time in this matter. Deborah Ford.

Janet says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 06:47
Hi - recently been furloughed and employer states that our holidays now change and will be pro ratar. Can they do this? Thank you

Frances Turner says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 07:04
My husband is in the lower sheilding group with COPD and has been furloughed from work although they have worked through making fibre drums for pharmaceutical, does he have to return after 12 weeks hes 65.

Michael Booker says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 08:26
If I return to work after furlough and employer says they have to lay me off due to lack of work, do they then have to make me redundant? And as I have worked for them for just over 10 years on weekly pay and I am 52 years old, how many weeks would they have to pay me in redundancy?

Beside says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 09:27
I have 15 days holiday to use up by the end of August, I am currently furloughed, I’m not sure when I will be returning to work and have asked if we can carry some of holidays over to next year and have been NO, are they allowed to refuse this? Thanks for your help

Anonymous says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 14:25
We think my husbands employer might have furloughed him but not told him how do we find out

Wayne marsden says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 16:27
I've been Furloughed but I believe it was discrimination when choosing me. I have the same skills as colleagues, but several more yrs experience. My HR person told me that I was selected by my immediate manager. He confirmed this verbally, without much explanation. I think it's because I've challenged him on safe distancing in the work area and not using furlough at the beginning. Since the consultation I've repeatedly asked for more clarity on why I was selected. They've now closed ranks (HR, manager and MD) and say I was chosen at Random. They refuse my request for a meeting. I am down on monthly pay of around 25%. I have dependants and bills, where some colleagues have neither. Colleagues wanted furlough, but we weren't asked. I've repeatedly asked for Furlough to be rotated, but they won't. It stinks of my employer giving me a kick because I asked uncomfortable questions at the beginning of the pandemic. Any advice on how best to move on?

Mr T Williams says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 16:48
I have been told that I can't be fuloaed because I have been with the company to long but I am sixty four years old and we have people half my age who have is this true thank you

Mark Cooper says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 18:32
I am a construction worker who uses an umbrella company, they say I am only entitled to 80% of the minimum wage, is this correct?

Amber says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 18:51
I was on furlough for a month but now I’ve been taken off and being told I have to sign on to governments universal credits. I just would like to hear more information regarding this.

Jackie says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 19:26
Can you be furloughed part time

Sarah says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 19:28
My employer has reduced our hours by half so working for 50%of our wage when we have quite a few staff off shielding on 80%. We are closed as key worker so have to stay open. Is there anything I can do please

Charlene Fothe… says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 19:37
If your employer ask you to return to work in June and your child hasn’t returned to school due to Coronavirus and you don’t have childcare are you still allowed to be furloughed. Is it allowed to take the time off as furloughed and not demand you return to work.

Nitida Patel says:

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 21:28
I have been furloughed by my umbrella company since 27th March, but haven’t received any money apart standard SSP Pay only. So I was wondering why I am not eligible for 80% furloughed money. I am under vernable group with Indian origin and diabetic. Can you please help me to get what I am eligible to get. Thanks

Neil says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 07:23
Do i need my current employers permission to start another job while furloughed?

Silvia Firth says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 07:46
If the furloughed scheme was effective from April, why did my employer only pay 80% of our March salary, which i also believe he based 80% of net pay and not gross pay.

Also our March payslip shows we were fully paid our normal salary, surely, this is wrong and should be corrected.

There are also rumours that some companies are returning staff to work full time and reducing their salaries by 20%. where does the employee stand on this point legally.
Can this be challenged and not accepted by the employee, especially id that employee has been working fir it's employer whilst on furlough?

Claire Woods says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 08:02
I’m furloughed until June , my employer has offered me a different position within the company at a lower rate of pay . If I do not accept the position can they stop my furlough ?

Stacie Brown says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 08:27
Hi, my husband received an email from his employer at the start of lockdown saying he’d been furloughed and claimed all directors will be carrying out work however that is not the case and all the employees have been working 7 days a week still. Can they get away with this?

Nanda Nissanka says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 12:38
Very productive information, thanks. Nanda.

Steven Shuffle… says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 12:48
I’m currently furloughed from the small company I work for . What after July the company I work for cannot contribute any pay , same as now I’m getting the 80% from the government but no top up . The same will apply after July . So if the company I work for cannot top up will I only get 60% from the government or will they still pay the 80%

Maria says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 13:08
Do I have to go to work if employer what me to come off furlough if I don’t feel save

Neculai says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 13:43
I work in a restaurant is a chef and I am Working from 2 weeks 6 hours today 5 days a week And am still getting pay 80% The money that the state supply.
No my question who's going to pay for 6 hours A-day

Belinda Coopey says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 13:55
Hi I'm off for 12 weeks will I be put off further than the 12 weeks as I'm vulnerable and high risk

Pam smith says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 18:18
I’ve been off sick since April 22 nd with covid 19 I am now fit for work with no symptoms I work in a care home I am ready to return back to work but I at to get retested before I could start back my test have come back positive once again even though I no longer have any symptoms my doctor says I am no longer at risk but work are saying different can I be furloughed

Janet says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 20:42
Do you still get holidays accruded to you when furloughed

Scott Mcguffie says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 20:52
Hi, my employer has put me and my fellow employees on furlough, but we are still working 9-5 for the business training on new software and building their new website. With new content and images etc.. is this okay to do? I am a designer so much of what we are doing is within my current skill set. Thanks Scott

Sandy Thomas says:

Sat, 05/16/2020 - 21:32
Is an employee entitled to recieve 100% wages whilst taking maternity leave being furlough ed?

Tony says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 07:21
I am 73 still working 12hours a week Four days Mon to Thurs. 102 pound a week. Am allowed furlough pay?

Carl powell says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 10:19
How does it work if your employer is trying to encourage you back to work yet you are of a high risk and told you must isolate for 12 weeks.And are my company still obliged to pay me furlough money for the whole period or is it at their discretion.

Juliet belk says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 10:21
As I work for an employment agency if my current job finished on 1 July am I eligible for furlough through my employment agency ?

R says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 10:54
When all this kicked off, I got told by my manager that only full time staff were entitled to furlough! I am a cleaner, work 17.5 hours a week and have an elderly relative that lives with our family. I was worried that through my job I would be a carrier and could possibly pass on. Plus was finding it hard juggling home schooling our 6 year old. It was getting all too much mentally and physically. Husband a cleaner but less risk, as work one evening a week instead of 5 and hardly anybody about, plus full pay! Whereas I am in 5 days a week! Never been able to get proper advice. Was told by manager could take unpaid leave or use all my holiday, but may need that in the future if things get worse! We now have a good homeschooling routine between the 3 of us, but with lockdown being relaxed and more people returning to work, the anxiety surrounding work may rear it's ugly head again. I am putting forward ideas at work, that I think will help with keeping me and others safe, so fingers crossed it will ge ok. I just wonder if in my situation I could have been furloughed? Although I am grateful still have a job as realise other peoples are at risk. Such a difficult time with no light at the end of the tunnel at present. Advice appreciated. Stay safe.

Tracey Sparkes says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 13:23
Hi, my daughter works for Primark and they have furloughed her by calculating 80% of her average tax yer earnings for 2019/20. At the time of being furloughed she had a 20 hours contract which she had been working since October 2019, previous to that she had a 4 hour contract with various overtime. She has therefore come out with alot less money for the tax year average than she would have got on her 20 hour contract. Are they allowed to do this? Thanks.

Dervish gashi says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 16:53
Furlough dismissals

James Jackson says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 17:40
Does the employer have to pay 100% of pay if a bank holiday was part of your normal working day and you was furloughed also if it was your normal working day was a bank holiday and you would have been paid double time should you get 80% of the double time

Melissa Andrews says:

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 18:12
My husband can’t work due to shielding me I’m having chemo and he drives ambulances and transfers patients for a private ambulance company they are saying he can’t be furloughed is this right? They are only paying him SSP but he hasn’t got a sick note as he’s not sick please can you advise. Thanks in advance

Debbie Blackmore says:

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 07:09
I am unable to furloughed as my role through Office Angels came to a natural end on 3rd April. I was on the payroll on 28th February.
There are no new roles due to Covid19, but as my role did not end due to Covid19. The government will not allow temps to be furloughed unless they have a letter confirming that the role is on hold due to Covid19. Is this right? I am not self employed.

Linda Howlett says:

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 07:51
Question 14 my wages haven't been topped up to 100 %with the bank holiday?

Sam says:

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 08:25
Hi, I qualify for furlough after redundancy but my old company refused.
What can I do.....can I be helped?

Sharon says:

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 09:33
If your on furlough do your employers have to give you notice to return back to work?

Caroline Moses says:

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 10:19
Please help. My company told me I qualify to furlough, then the next day they said the payroll company didn’t register me on time, so no furlough. They said I will be first back at work, then now they let me go because not enough work. They said they made the mistake that I am not furloughed. Now I have no job or income. Is there anything I can do? Please help x

Deborah Jane B… says:

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 11:10
I’m high risk , on week 9 of 12 . I been furloughed. So what happens after the 12 weeks .?

Lynne Jones says:

Mon, 05/18/2020 - 12:12
Hi, I work in an old people's home as a night careworker, the company says they are not eligible for furlough as the business is still going, I have been told and got a letter off the doctors saying I am high risk, is this right?

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