Guidance for Furlough Scheme for Employees

Over the weekend, HMRC published some much needed additional guidance about the Furlough Scheme (otherwise known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme).

We now know that:

  • Employees can be furloughed more than once which means it will be possible for employers to impose some kind of ‘furlough rota’ where some but not all staff are needed. Each furlough period however needs to be at least three weeks long.
  • Employers are required to confirm with employees in writing that they are to be furloughed. The employer must keep a record of that confirmation for five years which suggests HMRC will be auditing such claims in the future to check that they were genuine.
  • Employers can re-hire and then furlough anyone who was dismissed after 28 February (and this is not limited to dismissals because of redundancy).
  • An employee who has been furloughed by one employer is not prohibited from working for another employer (and therefore receiving 80% furlough from one employer plus 100% wages from another).
  • The scheme is available to some non-employees who are classified as workers as long as they meet the qualifying conditions and are paid through PAYE. 

There are still a number of things that have not been clarified, particularly about how the scheme interacts with holiday and sick leave. There is still no word on when the scheme will be up and running so employers who are struggling to make the payroll need to make considerations for this.

If you require more information about furlough leave such as how to put arrangements in place with your staff to enable you to utilise the scheme then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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