Coronavirus Job Protection Scheme Frequently Asked Questions

Background

Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 23rd March, the Government has introduced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Leave). This is to be used where the workload has significantly reduced due to the impacts of the Coronavirus containment strategy. It means an employer and employee can agree a change in status to ‘Furlough worker’ with the aim of protecting employees’ jobs and pay until the situation is over.

Q: What is Furlough Leave?

A: Furlough Leave is when an employee is asked not to attend work for a temporary period but is still legally employed.

Q: Why is the Company using this scheme?

A: The outlook over the next few months due to impacts of the Coronavirus will mean [please insert reasons for no work i.e business has closed]. In the short-term overheads and costs need to be reduced so we need to use the Government support available to protect our business in the future.

Q: Do I have to agree to be put on Furlough Leave?

A: Usually yes, an employee must give consent to a change to Furlough Leave via email to HR and your line manager. However if there is a no work clause in the contract of employment (a lay off clause) we as an Employer can request Furlough Leave be taken without consent.

Q: How does this affect my employment with the Company?

A: You will still be employed by the Company and this does not affect your continuous service with the Company in any way.

Q: How much will I be paid?

A: In March you have been paid as normal. In April,and if the scheme is extended in future months, you will be paid up to 80% of your usual monthly salary up to a maximum of £2,500.

Q: Will I still be taxed?

A: Yes, employees will still pay tax, pension and NI deductions from their income.

Q: Who pays me, the Company or the Government?

A: The Company will process the payroll and there will be no change to your pay date. The company will claim back the Government funding, so there is no action for employees. [Please amend if you are paying on receipt of the Government funds – please note that payroll may still need to be run in this time to receive receipt of 80% reimbursement –please check with your payroll provider or accountant].

Q: For how long will Furlough Leave last?

A: Furlough Leave is for a minimum of three weeks. The scheme currently runs to the end of May but could possibly be extended by the Government. How long you are on Furlough Leave also depends on the needs of the business, we may require you to return to work before the scheme ends.

Q: Why have I been chosen to be given Furlough Leave?

A: The management team have reviewed the staffing levels and the relative workloads of the individuals within the department and on that basis made their decision on who to put on Furlough Leave OR the business or place of work has closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak and as a result there is no work for you to undertake at this time.

Q: Do my other benefits continue whilst I am on Furlough Leave?

A: Yes, contractual and statutory rights still apply during Furlough Leave. Therefore, holidays still accrue, and pension contributions will continue but be calculated on pay during your Furlough Leave.

Q: Can I work from home?

A: No, during Furlough Leave employees should not be working. You cannot perform any work duties, including home working.

Q: Can I work elsewhere whilst I am on Furlough Leave?

A: No, legally you are still employed and you may not undertake paid work for any other organisation, or on your own account. If you do, you must tell us, and you may be liable to repay any sums we have paid to you under the Scheme.

Q: Can Furlough Leave be interrupted depending on the demands of the business?

A: Yes, at any point during Furlough Leave an employee may be called upon to return to work to meet the need of the business. Therefore, it is important both your line manager and HR hold contact details to be able to get in touch with you. You can also be put on Furlough Leave more than once. This could mean for example that you were on Furlough Leave for 3 weeks, return to work on full pay for 1 week and then revert to Furlough Leave.

Q: What happens if I fall sick during Furlough Leave?

A: An employee cannot be in receipt of sick pay whilst on Furlough Leave. Therefore, if an employee reports they have fallen sick, we must amend the status and pay sick pay.

Q. I have booked holiday leave over the coming weeks. What happens to this holiday?

A: During Furlough Leave you will not be able to take holiday but on your return to work all outstanding holiday entitlement will still be recognised.

Q: What happens after the scheme ends?

A: We would like to reassure you that, when Furlough Leave ends, we very much hope to be in a position where normal activity levels have resumed and you can return to work. If, however, this is not possible, we will consult with you at the relevant time.

Q: How much notice will I get about returning to work?

A: We will advise you 48 hours in advance of when we need you to return to work from Furlough Leave. We will therefore expect you to check your email/phone regularly during your Furlough Leave.

Q: What if I decide not to agree to Furlough Leave?

A: If you are asked to move to Furlough Leave you do not have to agree. However, please consider the purpose is to protect employees’ jobs and this may lead to risk of redundancies in line with usual HR consultation procedures. We also may have the right to indicate that you take Furlough Leave at this time in line with our “no work” clause in the contract.

If you would like to discuss further, please contact us by emailing enquiries@perspectivehr.co.uk or by phoning 01392 247436.

Last updated 3rd April 2020

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