Rules For Staff On Furlough

Gary Green
Gary Green
April 27, 2020

The government has recently issued some clarification on the rules for staff on furlough. In today's article, we'll explain what they can and can't do, and what happens if they have more than one job.

The initial guidance for what staff on furlough are allowed to do was pretty simple. They were not allowed to work. This included revenue generating activities, and "providing services" to the employer. We have recently received some more clarification.

You may find our article Furlough - Legal Considerations useful in providing a bit more background. And if you’d like more information about the financial, political and tax changes so far, check out our Coronavirus Tips. And be sure to visit our Coronavirus Update page.

What If The Employee Has Another Job?

According to the HMRC page giving advice to furloughed workers, all jobs are treated individually:

You can be put on furlough by one employer and continue to work for another, if it is permitted within your employment contract. If you’re put on furlough by more than one employer, you’ll receive separate payments from each employer. The 80% of your normal wage up to a £2,500 monthly cap applies to each job.

You should make your decision on furlough independent of any other jobs the employee holds. If there's not enough work for them, and you both want to avoid redundancy, you should consider using the furlough scheme.

Remember, all staff who have been on your PAYE payroll since 28th February are eligible for the scheme. This includes anyone with a second job, as well as employees who are:

  • Part-time
  • Agency
  • Flexible hours
  • Fixed term
  • Zero hours

Can The Employee Do Another Job While Furloughed?

The short answer is - it depends. While furloughed, staff are still on the books and under the authority of an employment contract. A such, during normal working hours, they should not be working for anyone else.

As long as the contractual obligations are not breached, furloughed staff could work for someone else. For example, a furloughed office worker (9-5) could, in theory, take a job working an evening shift for a supermarket. If in doubt, you should check with your HR department.

Either way, at the end of the furlough period, you have to both ensure the contract is adhered to. At the moment the rules around furlough and its alternatives are changing daily. We'll have more information as soon as it becomes available. Be sure to check our blog for updates.

If you'd like to discuss your options during the coronavirus crisis, please get in touch. We are staying on top of all the announcements from the government and can help you navigate this challenging time.

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