Furlough – what happens next?

Over the past six months, the dedicated team at SW&A have helped many Worcestershire businesses deal with the nitty-gritty of putting their staff on furlough leave.

Changes are afoot, however, and for clarity we’ve rounded up the latest developments, what is happening in October and beyond and how the scheme currently operates.

From September 1, businesses that have put staff on furlough had to pay 10% of their wages. This will rise to 20% the following month before the scheme ends on 31 October.

To encourage businesses to protect jobs, the government will pay a £1,000 bonus for every furloughed employee that is kept on until the end of January 2021. These workers must be paid an average of at least £520 a month between November and January.

If a worker loses their job and is entitled to redundancy pay, this should be calculated based on pre-furlough wages. You can apply for payments from the Insolvency Service if you’re made redundant while on furlough because your company has gone bust.

When the scheme was launched, furloughed staff were unable to do any work for their employer. However, they can now work on a part-time basis. Those still on furlough can do volunteer work for a community project or even for their company as long as they aren’t making them money or providing a service. 

Employers can give their staff additional training but must top up furlough payments if they do not reach minimum wage for the time spent on this.

Anyone furloughed retains the same employment rights. If you are ill, on unpaid leave, shielding or have caring responsibilities you are eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP). Staff on parental leave will still receive SSP. 

If you work for more than one firm, you can receive furlough from any of them, up to £2,500 a month per employer. You can continue working for any that still need you or start working for a new employer, provided you are not in breach of any existing contracts.

Companies can no longer make new furlough claims, except for returning military reservists  and people returning from statutory parental leave.

If your business has any queries about the furlough scheme, please call the knowledgeable and friendly SW&A team on 01905 622202.