The Jobs Retention Scheme, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month, offers employers grants from HMRC to cover 80 percent of the wages of staff who are on a payroll but are unable to work because of the outbreak. The scheme covers up to £2500 a month of lost wages and up to 80 percent of your monthly pay.
Staff who have been placed on the scheme are classed as being on furlough.
Your employer will notify you if you have been put on furlough and will notify HMRC for you.
The scheme has been brought in to prevent redundancies and protect businesses so that people have jobs to return to once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
The scheme will initially run for at least three months, from 1 March 2020, with all UK businesses eligible, and will be extended if necessary.
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Can I get a second job on furlough?
Staff may be able to work for another employer so long as it does not breach your current employment contract.
They should only work outside of the hours they would normally work with the job they have been furloughed from.
For example, taking an extra weekend job at a supermarket, or running deliveries in the evening, may not breach obligations if your contract states you must work from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
However, it is best to check with your employer before undertaking another job.
What is furlough?
When an employee is furloughed their employer has asked them to take an unpaid leave of absence.
That means the worker will still technically be employed but won’t work or get paid.
However, due to current events, furlough has taken on a new meaning, meaning you will still be paid, but by the government.
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The Chancellor’s aim is to ensure people do not lose their jobs while the coronavirus wreaks havoc on businesses and the economy.
In order to qualify to receive the money, employees should not work for the employer that furloughed them once classified as furloughed.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says: “To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them [your employer] while you are furloughed.
“This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80 percent of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
“You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to.
“If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
“We intend for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run for at least three months from 1 March 2020, but will extend if necessary.”
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