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
- The scheme opened on April 10, giving employers grants to help pay workers during the crisis.
- It applies to workers who were on PAYE by 19 March 2020, through HMRC’s Real Time Information (RTI) system.
- 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.
- Grants are paid within six days of a claim.
- Workers must be on furlough for at least three weeks.
- Employees can be furloughed for further periods without needing to return to work first.
- At present, there is no minimum period for a worker being taken out of furlough before being furloughed again.
- 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.
- 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.
- An employee on furlough cannot work at all for that business.
- People on furlough can work for other employer(s), if they have more than one job.
- 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.
- The worker must agree to the furlough and have it in writing.
- Employers must top up wages to 100% for annual leave and Bank Holidays taken during furlough.
- Workers who normally accrue holiday keep doing so while on furlough.
- 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.
- Plans are to close the scheme at the end of October.
(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.)
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