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Frequently Asked Questions regarding Furlough Leave

Furlough Leave - Frequently Asked Questions

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Good afternoon Pop Pickers! Further to Robert’s vlog; here are the top 6 frequently asked questions that we’ve been asked in the last couple of weeks about furlough leave.

Q.6 Does the Furlough scheme apply to short term working or only those fully laid off?

A: You must be fully laid off. You are not allowed to do any work during furlough. Also the employee must have been on the Employer’s PAYE scheme on 28.02.2020.

Q5. Can you rotate furlough amongst employees?

A: There is nothing to say that you cannot do this (but nothing to say you can either). What is clear is that the employees must be furloughed for a minimum of 3 weeks at a time. After 3 weeks, if there is work for them to do, they can go back to work and full salary and perhaps one of their colleagues could go on furlough for a minimum of 3 weeks too.

Q4. Does the 80% of wages on furlough mean that employees might get paid less than the National Minimum Wage (“NMW”)?

A: Yes it does. The NMW is for “working.” When you are on furlough leave you are not working; therefore the employer paying 80% of the NMW does not breach NMW legislation.

Q3. Does holiday continue to accrue during furlough? Can employers require employees to take holiday during furlough?

A: Yes holiday continued to accrue during furlough and yes employers can require employees to take holiday providing that they give twice the length notice of the leave they are required to take (e.g. 2 weeks’ notice for one week’s holiday).

Q2. What if any employee takes a new job whilst on furlough leave?

A: They can’t and if they do, the employer will be required to repay the employee’s furlough pay to HMRC. If the employer wants to seek reimbursement from the employee then they should ensure they have a valid furlough agreement which provides for this.

Q1. Can employees on maternity /paternity/shared parental leave cut short their absence to be furloughed?

A: Yes we think they can. They can agree a shorter maternity period on notice to their employer and the employer can, if so minded, put the employee on furlough leave. It is however rather against the spirit of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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