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Furloughing – how does it work and what are employees allowed to do?

What is the furlough scheme?

Officially named the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Government has promised to cover the majority of an employee’s salary if a business keeps them on the payroll and does not make them redundant – although they will no longer be able to do any work for your business.

Please read the Government’s official guidance on the scheme:

How much of an employee’s pay is covered?

The Government will pay 80% of an employee’s monthly salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

The Government has confirmed that the calculation of the monthly salary can include commission payments. For more detail on that, read Propertymark’s recent update.

Some businesses are choosing to top up the Government’s 80% to cover a furloughed team member’s full salary, or at least a further proportion of it.

How long will the scheme last?

From 1st March for an initial period of 4 months. The scheme has already been extended from the end of May until the end of June and the Government has said the scheme may be extended again if necessary. Employees who were on the payroll before 19th March 2020 are eligible.

How can you make a claim

Claims are made via an online portal that went live on 20th March. Read the Government’s step by step guide for employers to understand the process for making a claim.

What are furloughed staff allowed to do?

Furloughed staff cannot undertake work that provides a service to your business.

The Government has confirmed that some activities are acceptable, including training.

The Government’s official stance on training is:

“Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training.”

Volunteering is also encouraged.

Check out our free training resources for furloughed staff

We’ve created a page highlighting the very best recordings of our live webinars from recent months, grouped by topic. They’re all completely free to watch for Rightmove members. Whatever someone’s role, they’re sure to learn something new that will help them hit the ground running when they return to work.

See our top training picks for furloughed staff