Coronavirus Furlough Scheme

COVID-19: Latest update on furlough scheme

23rd April 2020

When the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was introduced on Friday 20th March 2020, the new legislation left many questions unanswered. Many people were eager to know who would be eligible, how long the Scheme would stay open for, when would employers be able to claim their staff’s wages, and so on.

Helen Clegg, Solicitor at our Exeter office, talks us through some of the latest updates for employers and employees utilising the Scheme.

What is the Scheme?

Many will now be aware of the Scheme’s aim to reduce unemployment by providing a grant to employers of up to 80% of their employee’s wage. This grant will be capped at £2,500 per month, per employee, and is inclusive of employers’ national insurance and pension contributions. During this time, furloughed employees must not undertake any work for the company. This includes checking or responding to any emails. You can claim your employee’s wages through a new HMRC portal.

When will the portal be available?

The portal launched on Monday 20th April 2020. After making an application, employers should receive the money within six working days. You can start your application through the portal here.

Who is eligible for the Scheme?

The Government have now clarified that apprentices, public sector organisations, administrators, individuals and those on fixed term contracts will be able to claim for the grant. This is provided they have a UK bank account, have enrolled for PAYE online and have created or started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19th March 2020.

I am a Company Director; can I furlough myself?

Yes, as an office holder you are eligible to be furloughed through this Scheme. Whilst you will have to carry out basic administrative duties for the company during this time, you must not carry out any work which will be profitable for the business.

How long will the Scheme be open for?

On Friday 17th April 2020, the Government announced the Scheme’s extension until the end of June. This date could be extended further if necessary.

I made some employees redundant before I knew about the Scheme, what can I do?

For any employees who have been made redundant or have been put on unpaid leave on or after 28th February 2020, you can re-employ them and put them on furlough instead.

As an employee, can I work elsewhere whilst I am furloughed?

Yes, but only if your employment contract allows you to do so.

I have multiple jobs; if I am furloughed will the cap be applied to my total monthly income?

No, the cap is applied to each employer individually. It is also worth mentioning that if you are furloughed in one of your jobs, you may continue to work for another employer and receive your usual pay.

What happens if I refuse to be furloughed?

If you refuse to be furloughed, you may be at risk of your contract being terminated or being made redundant. If this happens, you will still be protected by the usual redundancy rules and protections.

Can I take holiday pay whilst on furlough?

Yes, you can take holiday pay during this time. Your employer must then pay you your usual holiday pay. You can also agree with your employer to be paid any holiday entitlement as part of the furlough agreement.

The policy on holiday pay under furlough is still under review and further updates can be expected.

I’m on maternity leave during this time, how does this affect me?

If you are on maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental pay, your employer can claim for enhanced contractual pay for you during this time. The amount you will receive will be dependent on your earnings.

For more detailed, practical advice on the CJRS and other funding you may be eligible for, get in touch with our employment law team on or call 01392 424242