Ending, extending or putting someone on furlough
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends on 30 September 2021.
What furlough is
Employers can agree to put some or all of their staff on temporary leave ('furlough') during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes 'flexible furlough', where an employee works some of their hours and is put on furlough for the hours they do not work.
Putting someone on furlough includes:
- a temporary contractual agreement between the employer and employee
- the employer claiming for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Pay when someone is on furlough
Employers must pay staff on furlough 80% of their usual wages up to £2,500 per month – or more if that's been agreed with the employee.
Statutory holiday pay, notice pay and redundancy pay should be based on what the employee would usually earn – not the reduced furlough rate.
When a furlough agreement ends, the employer and employee go back to their earlier contractual arrangements, unless a change is agreed.
To end furlough, employers should give staff notice in writing.
The furlough agreement might say how much notice to give. If it does not, there is no minimum – but employers should give as much notice as possible.
- 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
Returning to the workplace
If an employer plans for staff to return to the workplace, they should consider:
- flexible working arrangements
- making reasonable adjustments
- keeping the workplace safe
- how the workplace might reopen
If people have been on furlough for a long time
Employers should be considerate to staff who are returning to work.
They should consider:
- employee wellbeing, including mental health
- giving employees time to adjust to being back in work
- offering training or refresher courses
If an employee has any concerns about returning to work, they should raise them with their line manager or employer.
Changes after furlough
Employers should discuss any changes with employees and their representatives (for example, a recognised trade union).
They should follow the usual processes for:
Furlough can be extended by going through the process of putting someone on furlough again. Any agreement to extend should be put in writing.
Putting someone on furlough
It's still possible for an employer to put someone on furlough.
Any of the following can be put on furlough, whether they work full time or part time:
- agency workers
- those on zero-hours contracts
Employers must select people for furlough in a fair way to avoid any discrimination.
- get agreement in writing and be clear how much the employee will get paid while they're on furlough
- keep staff on the employer's payroll and continue their employment contracts
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
- on furlough for each job
If an employee is put on furlough for more than one job, they'll be eligible for financial support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for each job.
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 employer or worker will be paid when they're on furlough
- when the furlough will be reviewed
- how to keep in contact during furlough
- keep the agreement for 5 years
- keep a written record of how many hours someone works and how many hours they're on furlough (not working)
What staff on furlough can and cannot do
Staff on furlough can do:
- volunteering, as long as it's for another employer or organisation
- training to keep their skills and learning up to date
Staff on furlough cannot:
- do tasks, training or activities that make money for their employer or an organisation linked to their employer
- provide a service for their employer or an organisation linked to their employer
If staff are on flexible furlough, they can do work for their employer during the hours they are not on furlough. They must get their full normal pay for any hours worked. An employer cannot claim for hours worked through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.