Friday, 14 August 2020 13:29

Furlough Recap

Moving to the Flexible Furlough Scheme has proved largely un-eventful in itself, however the withdrawal of NI and Pension payments by the Government this month has put added strain on some businesses, enough for a number to concede that redundancies are inevitable in order to survive. Further reductions in the Government’s financial support as the furlough scheme winds down will undoubtedly adversely affect more businesses yet.

Living with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has pretty much become second nature for most of us. Early issues have been ironed out and clarity has now been provided over the main sticking points of holidays, redundancy and notice payments.

We do come across the odd case where the furlough scheme is being used fraudulently, albeit unwittingly so. Nevertheless, HMRC has already made some arrests for Furlough Fraud and having launched a web page dedicated to reporting fraud, now might be a good time to review your furlough claims and your understanding of related procedures.

Here is a brief list of some potential pitfalls:

  • Furloughed staff cannot do any work for the business. Keeping in touch via phone, e-mail or a web-meeting platform is probably OK but they cannot contribute to business productivity
  • If staff are or have been working from home then you cannot claim furlough payments for them
  • Employees can still undertake training whilst furloughed. You’ll need to top pay up to at least their National Minimum Wage rate for these days if there furlough pay is less than this
  • Holiday days must be topped up to 100%, including for bank holidays. If you’ve instructed staff that any holiday accrued on furlough must be taken during furlough, then you’ll need to make sure that these days are paid at 100%
  • Furlough claims can be made for 80% of employees’ normal pay. If you’ve agreed a pay cut prior to furloughing staff, then you can only claim for 80% of the new agreed pay
  • On the subject of agreed pay cuts, you need to make sure that any reduction in wages for staff who are still working, does not take their pay below National Minimum Wage rates
  • Redundancy payments must be calculated at the employees’ normal rate of pay despite the temptation to use the lower, furloughed rate as a way of keeping costs down
  • Notice payments can be subsidised by furlough payments, but you may need to top up to the appropriate rate of pay
  • Furlough claims cannot be used to make statutory redundancy payments

We should shortly be hearing of an amnesty arrangement for any employers that may have, inadvertently or otherwise, made fraudulent furlough claims whereby they will be able to come clean and repay any claims they perhaps shouldn’t have made.

If you’re in any doubt about of the claims that you have made, we can undertake a review for you. Contact us on 01452 331331 or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 1217 times Last modified on Friday, 14 August 2020 13:36


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

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