What are the Rules of Being On Furlough?

Mary Palmer

Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that he would help businesses cover up to 80% of the salary of any employee they decided to put on furlough.

This week, many businesses have had to make tough decisions as to how to manage their staffing levels – working out who to keep ‘doing the day job’ and who to put on furlough.

The good news is, as an employee, you don’t have to do anything. Your employer will sort out all the paperwork and calls to HMRC to notify them of your new status and ensure you get paid.

But what does on furlough mean? Put simply, you are still employed by the business and remain on their payroll but you’re not actually doing any work for them. It’s designed to avoid redundancies at time like this when workload can be significantly lower than usual.

So, what are the ‘rules’ of being on furlough? What are you able to do and what should you avoid?

Do

  • You can still communicate with your colleagues as normal – you just can’t provide any assistance on work-related matters.
  • You can seek financial assistance from various organisations if the 80% salary arrangement will leave you unable to cover essential bills.
  • You can look for a new job, and resign, as you normally would in accordance with your contract.

Don’t

  • You cannot, under any circumstance, do any work for your current employer whilst on furlough – no matter how small the task.
  • You cannot include bonuses, incentives or commissions as part of your monthly salary – the 80% will only cover your basic take home.
  • You cannot seek alternative employment, whilst still on the payroll of your current employer, unless your contract stipulates that having more than one job is allowed.

If you have any questions about being placed on furlough, you should speak to your employer or your HR department immediately. Your employer cannot force you take furlough, they must ask you and get your consent.

Stay home, and stay safe.

For more information, visit the UK government website.

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