What Happens When the Furlough Scheme Ends?

Sep 11, 2020
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Unless you’ve had your head buried firmly in the sand since March, you’ll be somewhat aware of the currently ongoing furlough scheme in the UK. 

Furlough is a government scheme that was designed to help those who couldn’t do their jobs and this helped to prevent mass redundancies across the UK, Under the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, to give furlough its official title, workers placed on furlough leave have been able to receive 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Almost 10 million workers who were unable to do their job because of the coronavirus outbreak, have had their wages paid by the government.

Payroll departments, or your accountants in Conwy will be able to work out your staff furlough entitlements. 


How has furlough been changing?
Since July, furloughed employees have been able to return to work part-time. For example, an employer could pay someone to work two days per week, while the furlough scheme would cover the three days not worked. 

Since August 1st, employers have resumed paying National Insurance and pension contributions for their staff. Some businesses and workers have heavily criticised the scheme coming to a close at the end of October. However, the decision to end furlough has been backed by the Bank of England, which has said that workers should be helped to move forwards and not kept in this unproductive cycle. 


Can you be made redundant on furlough?

Simply, yes. Employees can be made redundant at any point throughout the furlough scheme. There have been increasing concerns that there will be significant job losses at the end of October. 


Can you work if you’ve been furloughed?

When the scheme started, furloughed staff weren’t able to do any work for their employer – however, now they can be brought back to work on a part-time basis. Those still on furlough can volunteer in the community, or even for their company as long as they aren’t making them money or providing a service.

Employers can give employees additional training, but must top up furlough payments if they do not reach minimum wage for the period spent doing the training.

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 breaching any existing contracts.


How popular has the furlough scheme been?

The take-up has been significant, with 9.6 million workers furloughed by 1.2 million employers since March. These employers had made £34.7bn of furlough claims by 9 August, and the scheme will cost the government an estimated £80bn in total.

The scheme covers full-time, part-time, flexible, zero-hour and agency workers if they were on their employer’s PAYE payroll on 19 March 2020. Workers must be furloughed for at least three weeks, and can be furloughed more than once.

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