Am I Entitled To Furlough Pay? - Paul Doran Law

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Am I Entitled To Furlough Pay?

The information in this blog is based on Government guidance as of 4:00 pm on 27 March 2020. Furlough PayGuidance has been published further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (more commonly known as the Furlough Pay Scheme).

At this stage, it is unclear when exactly the scheme will go live and whether HMRC will rely only on the guidance when operating the scheme or if legislation will be enacted. It is also unclear when the scheme will actually commence however payments are to be backdated to 1 March 2020.

The areas in which we have received a number of queries are set out below:

Who Is Entitled to Receive Furlough Pay?

All employees who are paid through a PAYE scheme. This includes agency staff if paid through PAYE.

The types of employers named are who are covered by the scheme are businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

To qualify, you must have been on the payroll on or before 28 February 2020 – anyone hired after that date is not eligible.

The scheme is also open to employees made redundant since 28 February 2020 provided the employer is willing to rehire them.

Employees with more than one job are eligible. Furlough leave can be paid for each job an employee works in.

When on furlough leave, the employee must not undertake any work for the organisation.

Furlough pay is subject to tax and NI.

Who is not entitled to Furlough Leave?

  1. Employees who are working on reduced hours for reduced pay.
  2. Employees on unpaid leave on or before 28 February 2020
  3. Employees on sick leave – this includes those self-isolating

Please note that if you are presently in receipt of sick pay, once you are fit to return to work, you will be eligible for furlough leave.

How Much Will I Receive?

The lower of 80% of your regular wage or £2,500 per month. That sum is before tax and NI is deducted. This means that the maximum payment will be £2,500 per month less tax and NI.

If your normal pay before tax and NI is higher than £2,500 per month, the maximum pay you will receive is £2,500 less tax and NI.

If your normal pay is less than £2,500 before tax and NI, you will receive 80% of your pay. For example, if you receive £2,000 per month before tax and NI, you will be paid £1,600 per month. Again, tax and NI will be deducted from that sum.

Employers can make up the difference if they wish but they are not obliged to. We suspect most will not offer to do so.

My Pay is Variable Each Month 

How much you will be paid depends on how long you have been working for. If you have been employed for more than a year, you can claim the higher of:

If you have been employed for less than a year, you will be entitled to:

Again, these sums will be capped at 80% of your earnings and subject to tax and NI.

What if 80% of my pay means I earn less than the National Minimum Wage?

The government has said that because furloughed leave workers will not actually be working, the 80% cap will still apply even if this would technically mean you hourly rate falls below the NMW.

What date can Furlough Leave start from?

It is unclear when the scheme will go live however employers can claim payments from 1 March 2020.

What happens at the end of the scheme?

The government has left this to employers. The guidance specifically states that employers can decide to make employees redundant at the end of the furlough period. We suspect that, unfortunately, many businesses will have no option but to do so.

Do I Have Employment Rights on Furlough Leave?

You will retain your employment rights including sick pay, Statutory Sick Pay, maternity rights, other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and discrimination and to redundancy payments.

Can I Refuse Furlough Leave?

You can however refusing to do so will mean you run the risk of being made redundant.

How Do I Apply? 

Your employer must first designate you as a “furloughed worker” which means that you would be made redundant were it not for this scheme.

You must agree to enter into the scheme. If you do, the employer must confirm the position with HMRC and submit information on your earnings via an online portal (to date, this has not yet been created).

Further reading

For more information on this subject, you might find our other articles useful:

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