Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Furlough Leave

As part of its response to the current COVID-19 crisis, the Government has introduced a scheme whereby employers can place their staff on “furlough leave” and reclaim from the Government 80% of their salary.

The idea is to assist employers to maintain their staff in jobs at a time when the firm’s income is likely to be severely hit by the restrictions introduced to manage the crisis.

The scheme has been introduced at astonishing speed and its details have emerged in stages. In some respects, the details are still being worked out – particularly as regards the arrangements for getting the refunds.

Key features of the scheme are:

  • Employers can reclaim 80% of furloughed workers’ normal pay, up to a cap of £2,500 per month (plus the associated Employer National Insurance and minimum automatic enrolment pension contributions)
  • The scheme is set to run for a period of 3 months, unless extended by the government
  • Employees who are designated as being on furlough leave must not do any work for their employer during that time

More details about the scheme can be found here:

The idea of placing staff on furlough leave is not something that has previously existed under English law. The Government has been clear, however, that the scheme is not intended to override existing contractual and employment law.

As a result, many employers are uncertain about precisely what it is they can do, as well as about how the scheme applies and the practicalities of accessing it.

At the same time, many workers are concerned to have been told that they are being furloughed (or in some cases that they are not going to be furloughed). They have understandable questions about what their rights are in this situation and what the future may hold.

We understand that this is a difficult time for employers and employees alike and we are on hand to provide advice in respect of your rights and responsibilities. If you wish to speak to a solicitor dealing with this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01227 813400.