The Government issued a further update to the Job Retention Scheme on the 9th April in order to clarify some of the gaps that have arisen since the operation of the scheme.
Can employees on sick pay be furloughed?
The previous guidance stated that you could not furlough an employee who was previously on sick leave and that they should be paid SSP (Statutory Sick Pay). However, they could be furloughed once they returned from sick leave. This has now been amended so that any employees on sick leave can in fact be furloughed. This can not be applied to employees who are on short-term sick leave but if there are business reasons to furlough an employee just because they are on sick leave does not prevent them from being furloughed.
The updated guidance also clarifies that an employee who is social distancing because they are in a vulnerable group then they can be furloughed.
How long will the Scheme be in place for?
The current plan is for the Job Retention Scheme to be in place from 1st March through to 31st May 2020. The scheme can be accessed at any time during this period.
Can foreign nationals be furloughed?
Yes, any employees on a contract can be furloughed including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts provided they are paid through PAYE. Likewise, any foreign nationals employed through PAYE are entitled to be furloughed.
What else can employers apply for in addition to employee’s pay?
Employers can claim for a grant that covers 80% of the usual monthly salary cost, up to £2,500 per month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and Pension contributions (up to the minimum of auto-enrolment).
Can furloughed employees work for other companies in the Group?
The updated guidance confirms that those employees who have been furloughed cannot work for, or on behalf of, their employer. They may also not work for any organisation linked or associated with their employer.
Furloughed workers can take part in volunteer work as long as it does not provide services or generate revenues for their employer.
Can employees transferred under TUPE still be furloughed?
The Government has confirmed that employees can transfer under a TUPE transfer post 28th February 2020 and this will not be viewed as starting a new job for the purpose of the Job Retention Scheme.
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