Furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Starting and ending furlough

The furlough scheme has been extended until 31 March 2021.

Putting someone on furlough

Employers can put someone on furlough, as long as they were employed on or before 30 October 2020. They do not need to have been on furlough before.

Employers must select people for furlough in a fair way to avoid any discrimination.

They should:

  • get agreement in writing and be clear how much the employee or worker will get paid during their furlough
  • keep furloughed workers on the employer's payroll and continue their employment contracts

If someone disagrees with their employer's decision about being selected for furlough or how much they'll get paid, they should talk to their employer and try to come to an agreement.

To find out more about claiming for furlough, see:

If someone was made redundant or left their job on or after 23 September 2020

An employer can decide to re-employ someone who was made redundant or stopped working for them on or after 23 September 2020, then put them on furlough.

The employee must have been:

  • on the employer's PAYE payroll on 23 September
  • included in a 'Real Time Information' (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March and 23 September

If someone has more than one job

Each job is treated separately. This means someone might be:

  • on furlough for one or more jobs, but continue to work for other jobs
  • be furloughed for each job

If they're put on furlough for more than one job, they'll be eligible for financial support through HMRC's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for each job.

Furlough agreements

Any new furlough arrangements should be agreed between the employer and the employee or worker, and be put in writing. It's a good idea to include:

  • the date furlough starts
  • how much the furloughed worker will be paid
  • when the furlough will be reviewed
  • how to keep in contact during furlough

Download a furlough agreement template.

Employers should:

  • keep the agreement for 5 years
  • keep a written record of how many hours someone works and how many hours they're furloughed (not working)

Extending furlough

Furlough can be extended by going through the process of putting someone on furlough again. Any agreement to extend should be put in writing.

Download a furlough extension letter template.

Ending furlough

Employers should regularly review furlough agreements to see if staff can be put on flexible furlough or return to work full time.

It can help employers to consider:

  • which job roles and skills are needed in the workplace
  • if all furloughed staff are needed back at the same time
  • if any staff might be kept on furlough because they're temporarily unable to work, for example if they’re caring for someone or are shielding

To end furlough, employers should give staff notice in writing.

There's no minimum notice period for furlough, but employers should:

  • talk to staff about any plans to end furlough as early as possible
  • encourage staff to raise any concerns or problems about returning to work

Download a letter template to end furlough.

Changing an employment contract

If an employer cannot reach an agreement with an employee or worker, they may decide they need to change the written terms in their contract.

If there are more than 20 people affected, employers will need to consult staff representatives ('collectively consult').

Find out more about changing an employment contract.

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