Some FAQs about furlough, answered by employment law specialist, Jenny Carpenter, Solicitor.
Do you have to be employed to be placed on furlough leave?
No, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme applies to the self employed, contractors and zero hour workers.
Can furlough leave be used for those shielding at home from Covid-19 as they are in the vulnerable group of individuals?
Yes, the Scheme Guidance makes it clear that those that are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough leave by their employer. However, this is only the case if the employee cannot work from home and would otherwise be made redundant.
Can a worker/employee with caring responsibilities be placed on furlough leave?
Yes, if for example an employee is unable to work because there is no child care provision (particularly relevant as schools are closed) then they can volunteer for furlough leave. However, an employer is not obliged to place an employee/worker on furlough.
Can apprentices be placed on furlough leave?
Yes, and they can continue with training during this time, but not work.
Can a furloughed worker/employee undertake voluntary work whilst on furlough leave?
Yes. But not for the organisation that has placed them on furlough leave.
Can paid work be done by a worker/employee on furlough leave?
This depends. Paid work cannot be done for the organisation that placed them on furlough. However, if the worker/employee’s contract of employment permits them to have more than one job then there is no reason why they cannot take up paid work elsewhere.
Can a Nanny be placed on furlough leave?
Yes, the Guidance makes it clear that those employed by individuals can be placed on furlough. However, they must be paid through PAYE payroll and have been on the payroll as at 28th February 2020.
Can a director of a company be placed on furlough leave?
Yes, provided the decision is made by the Board of Directors and documented. It does of course mean that the director cannot then do any work for or on behalf of the Company during the period of furlough. The director can though carry out his/her statutory obligations under the Company Act 2006.