Great Britain

How does furlough work in the UK and how do I claim my pay?

BRITISH workers across the country may be eligible for the government's new furlough scheme.

But how do you apply to get 80 per cent of your wages paid and how do you know if you qualify?

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What is the government furlough scheme?

The government has launched a "Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme".

This scheme started on March 1, 2020 and is open to all UK employers for a period of at least three months.

Simply put, if your work is forced to close temporarily due to coronavirus, employers can use a portal to claim 80 per cent of furloughed employees' wages up to £2500 per month.

Employers can also claim the associated employer national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on top.

This scheme is available to all employers that started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before February 28, 2020.

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Who can use the government furlough scheme?

Any UK organisation with employees can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

Public sector employers are not expected to be using the scheme as the majority of employees are still providing essential services.

If you are receiving public funding to pay staff, you will be expected to continue using these funds and not furlough employees.

How do I claim furlough pay from the government?

To access the scheme, your employer must comply with the following:

When does furlough pay start?

Although furlough leave can be backdated to March 1, the portal your employer will use to register your fuloughed status will not be up and running until the end of April.

Consequently, you will not be paid until then.

Can I receive furlough pay if I am on unpaid leave?

Only employees places on unpaid leave after February 28 are eligible for furlough.

Can I receive furlough pay if I am on sick leave?

Any sick days you take must still be covered by your employer.

However, if you are restricted from working by the government coronavirus restrictions then you are eligible for furlough.

Can I be furloughed if I have more than one job?

If you have more than one employer then you can be furloughed for both your jobs.

Consequently, if you are furloughed by two employers you are eligible for government support amounting to up to £5,000 per month.

Each job is separate and the £2,500 cap applies to each employer specifically.

You can also continue working one job while being furloughed on another.

Can I do volunteer work or training while I am on furlough?

A furloughed worker can take part in volunteer work or training provided it does not generate revenue for their employer.

If a furloughed worker is required to complete, for example, an online training course then their employer will be required to pay them for the hours spent training.

Can I be furloughed if I am on maternity leave?

Employees on the government-mandated 39 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) will still have to be paid by their employer.

This covers six weeks paid at 90 per cent of weekly earnings, followed by £148.68 or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

Anything your company pays you on top of this amount can be covered by the government furlough scheme up to £2500 per month.

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