A brief update on the job retention scheme under which you can access funding so that 80% of the wages of “furloughed “workers are paid by the Government.

It is now clear there will not be a phone line to access it; instead employers will need to submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.

The Government is apparently intending to release the portal imminently.

When it is available, we will advise you.

Two extra issues which have come to our attention:

  • Many clients have asked us whether they can pay someone just to do one day a week and still use the scheme. The answer is no. Employees for whom you use the scheme must not be doing any work during this period, simply reducing hours for someone will not result in them being treated as furloughed. The idea is that the scheme is for employees you would otherwise have had to make redundant.
  • We have received some employment law advice that the furloughing should be accepted by all employees given it is essentially a change in their employment contract. This may or may not be applicable to you but where you are only furloughing some of your employees; it may be worth asking for volunteers. Whilst it might seem best practice to furlough those at higher risk i.e. underlying health issues, pregnancy etc, you should be careful not to be discriminating, or seen to be, and so open yourself to claims in the future. If you need to, take some employment law advice on that.