The travel industry and businesses across the country have fallen on hard times as the Government first ordered people to avoid social venues like restaurants, pubs and theatres, then firming up its stance by ordering a nationwide lockdown. With many facing the prospect of losing their jobs, Rishi Sunak announced a series of emergency measures.
What does furlough mean?
Among the Chancellor’s plans is a huge bailout to cover the wages of millions of UK workers.
The Government has pledged to cover 80 percent of salaries up to £2,500 per month, with all employers able to apply to HMRC to pay the wages of people who are furloughed.
An employee furlough is when bosses require their staff to take unpaid leaves of absence.
In other words, they’ll still technically be employed but won’t work or get paid.
The Gov.UK website states: “If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off.
“To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% 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.”
Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers can access financial support to continue paying part of workers’ salaries who would have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
If your boss intends to use take advantage of the job retention scheme, they should talk to you about being classified as a furloughed worker.
Once considered a furloughed employee, you will remain on the payroll and not lose your job.
Furlough applies to everyone who is on PAYE, so if you have been made redundant before March 1, it is unclear whether you can change to become a furloughed worker.
Laura Kearsley, partner and solicitor specialising in employment law at East Midlands law firm Nelsons, said: “The scheme is backdated to March 1, 2020 and employers are urged by the government to take back anyone they had already dismissed and convert them to this leave instead.”
Other Government schemes for financial aid during the coronavirus pandemic include, among others, a delay in VAT and Income Tax payments.
The state is allowing small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England is also available.
A grant of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, and a £25,000 grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
Do you have any questions about the coronavirus, self-isolating or the Government lockdown?