Coronavirus: Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

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Find out which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. Find out more about how the scheme is changing.

Claims for furlough days in February 2021 must be made by 15 March 2021.

You can no longer submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

To use the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme, the steps you’ll need to take are:

  1. Check if you can claim
  2. Check which employees you can put on furlough
  3. Steps to take before calculating your claim
  4. Calculate how much you can claim
  5. Claim for your employees’ wages online
  6. Report a payment in PAYE Real Time Information

For periods ending on or before 30 April 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 30 October 2020 to claim for periods from 1 November 2020.

For periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 2 March 2021 to claim for periods from starting on or after 1 May 2021.

You can claim for employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero hour contracts. Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed. Grants under the scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’, and you can furlough employees on all categories of visa.

There are rules about what your employees can do whilst on furlough.

Check how different employment conditions affect eligibility

There are different groups of employees that are eligible for the scheme.

If your employee is on a fixed term contract
If the employee's fixed term contract has not already expired, it can be extended or renewed.

For periods ending on or before 30 April 2021, you can put the employee on furlough as long as they were employed by you on or before 30 October 2020. You must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

If your employee's fixed term contract expired on or after 23 September 2020, they can be re-employed and claimed for. This applies as long as your employee was employed by you on 23 September 2020 and you made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

For periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, you can put the employee on furlough as long as they were employed by you on 2 March 2021, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.

If you employ apprentices
Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whilst on furlough.

However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage/National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means that for time spent training you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.

Guidance is available for changes in apprenticeship learning arrangements because of coronavirus - see COVID-19 - Apprenticeships guidance for employers.

If your employee is a supply teacher
Supply teachers are eligible for the scheme in the same way as other employees and can continue to be claimed for during school holiday periods provided that the usual eligibility criteria are met.

If you've consolidated your payroll and have new employees on it
Where a group of companies have multiple PAYE schemes and there is a transfer of all employees from these schemes into a new consolidated PAYE scheme, the new scheme will be eligible to continue to furlough and claim for employees.

Employee transfers under TUPE and on a change in ownership
If you’re claiming for a period between 1 November 2020 and 30 April 2021 and you employ someone who was transferred from another business, you can claim under the normal rules if they were included on a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC on or before 30 October 2020.

Otherwise, you may still be eligible to claim in respect of the employees if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

The new employer can claim for employees transferred between 1 September 2020 and 30 April 2021. The transferred employees must have been:

  • employed by the old employer on or before the 30 October 2020
  • transferred from their old employer to their new employer on or after 1 September 2020
  • included on a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC, by their old employer, between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020

If you’re claiming for a period beginning on or after 1 May 2021 and you employ someone who was transferred from another business, you can claim under the normal rules if they were included on a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC on or before 2 March 2021.

Otherwise, you may still be eligible to claim in respect of the employees if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

The new employer can claim for employees transferred on or after 1 January 2021. The transferred employees must have been:

  • employed by the old employer on or before 2 March 2021
  • transferred from their old employer to their new employer on or after 1 January 2021
  • included on a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC, by their old employer, between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021

Read more guidance on TUPE rules.

Read more guidance on business succession.

If your employee has more than one job or other duties

If your employee has more than one job
If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job.

Employees can be furloughed in one job and receive a furloughed payment but continue working for another employer and receive their normal wages.

If your employee had multiple employers over the last year
If an employee has had multiple employers over the past year, has only worked for one of them at any one time, and is being furloughed by their current employer, their former employer/s should not re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme.

If your employee does volunteer work
A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough as long as it is for another employer or organisation.

If your employee does training
Furloughed employees can engage in training during hours which you record your employee as being in furlough, 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.

Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee's regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages (see National Minimum Wage Section for more details).

Furloughed employees working as union or non-union representatives or as pension trustees
During hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers. However in doing this, they must not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.

During hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, employees who are pension scheme trustees or trustee directors of a corporate trustee may undertake trustee duties in relation to the pension scheme. However, a professional, independent pension scheme trustee who has been furloughed by the independent trustee company cannot undertake trustee work that would provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the independent trustee company or any organisation linked or associated with that independent trustee company during hours which you record them as being on furlough.

If you’ve made your employees redundant

Where you must make redundancies, you should do so in accordance with the normal rules. This includes giving a notice period and consulting staff before a final decision is reached. For claim periods relating to November, you can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period, however grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, you cannot claim for any days on or after 1 December 2020 during which the furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period for the employer (this includes people serving notice of retirement or resignation). If an employee subsequently starts a contractual or statutory notice period on a day covered by a previously submitted claim, you will need to make an adjustment.

If you make an employee redundant, you should base statutory redundancy and statutory notice pay on their normal wage rather than the reduced furlough wage.

For claim periods between 1 November 2020 and 30 April 2021
If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 23 September 2020 you can re-employ them and put them on furlough. This applies as long as the employee was employed by you on September 23 2020 and you made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

If your employee's health has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other conditions

Your employee is eligible for the grant and can be furloughed, if they are unable to work, including from home or working reduced hours because they:

  • are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance
  • have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household

If your employee is self-isolating or on sick leave
If your employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of coronavirus, they may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness.

Short term illness/self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

Employers can furlough employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus. It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees. An employer does not need to be facing a wider reduction in demand or be closed to be eligible to claim for these employees.

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time. When an employee is on furlough, you can only reclaim expenditure through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and not the SSP rebate scheme. If a non-furloughed employee becomes ill due to coronavirus, needs to self-isolate or shield, then you might qualify for the SSP rebate scheme, where you can claim up to two weeks of SSP per employee.

If your employee becomes sick while furloughed
Furloughed employees retain their statutory rights, including their right to SSP. This means that furloughed employees who become ill, due to Coronavirus or any other cause, must be paid at least SSP. Subject to eligibility this includes those self-isolating or clinically extremely vulnerable because of Coronavirus. It is up to employers to decide whether to move these employees onto SSP or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.

If a furloughed employee who becomes sick is moved onto SSP, employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary. Employers are required to pay SSP themselves, although may qualify for a rebate for up to two weeks of SSP if the sickness is related to coronavirus.

If employers keep the sick furloughed employee on the furloughed rate for the period that they are sick, they remain eligible to claim for these costs through the furloughed scheme.

If your employee is on or has recently returned from leave

If your employee is on or has just returned from statutory parental leave
The normal rules for maternity, shared parental, adoption or paternity leave and pay apply.

You may need to calculate your employee’s average weekly earnings differently, if your employee was furloughed and then started leave on or after 25 April 2020 for:

You can claim through the scheme for enhanced (earnings-related) contractual pay for employees who qualify for either:

  • maternity pay
  • adoption pay
  • paternity pay
  • shared parental pay

Information is also available below on what you can claim if your employee is still on maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave or parental bereavement leave.

Ending maternity leave early to be furloughed
If your employee decides to end their maternity leave early to enable them to be furloughed (with your agreement), they will need to give you at least 8 weeks’ notice of their return to work, but you can agree to shorter notice in certain circumstances. You will not be able to furlough them until the end of the 8 weeks, or the date that you have agreed they can return to work.

If your employee gets Maternity Allowance
If your employee is getting Maternity Allowance while they’re on maternity leave, they should not get furlough pay at the same time.

If your employee has agreed to be put on furlough, tell them to contact the Jobs and Benefits office to stop their Maternity Allowance payments.

Other types of employees you can claim for

You can claim a grant for other types of employees as long as they’re paid via PAYE.

You can claim for:

  • office holders (including company directors)
  • salaried member of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
  • agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies)
  • limb (b) workers
  • contingent workers in the public sector
  • contractors with public sector engagements in scope of IR35 off-payroll working rules (IR35)
  • individuals with an annual pay period

After you’ve checked which employees you can claim for

Once you know whether you can put your employees on furlough and claim through the scheme, you should agree this with them before you start your claim.

First published on 15 May 2020