Only employees taken on before 19th March 2020 are eligible for furlough leave. However, employers may re-employ staff who have been made redundant or stopped working for the employer since 19th March and place them on furlough leave.
Though the scheme is primarily to help employers that have been severely affected by coronavirus to continue paying their employees and avoid individuals being left out of work, all employers are eligible to claim. Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.
Types of contract
Employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible, fixed term or zero-hour contracts, are eligible for furlough leave. Fixed term contracts may be renewed or extended during the furlough period. Individuals can furlough employees (for example a nanny) so long as they are paid through PAYE.
Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees. However, if they continue to train whilst furloughed they must receive at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage for time spent training. The employer is responsible for paying any extra wages required to meet this level.
A company board of directors may place individual directors on furlough leave so long as they consider it in compliance with their statutory duties under the Companies Act 2006.
Agency workers paid through PAYE are eligible. Furlough should be agreed between the agency, as the deemed employer, and the worker, although in practice clients should be involved in the discussion. Agency workers must not undertake any work for, through or on behalf of the agency or its clients while they are furloughed.
Publicly Funded Organisations
Employers who receive public funding for staff costs are expected to use the existing funding to pay staff, so long as it is continuing.
Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed.
Employees who are shielding, self-isolating or unable to work
Employees who have coronavirus or are self-isolating on government advice are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day of absence. You cannot claim furlough allowance for employees while they’re getting SSP but you can furlough them and, once they are no longer receiving SSP, claim support for their wages.
You may furlough employees who are unable to work because they are unable to work from home while shielding based on public health advice. Similarly, you may furlough an employee who is unable to work because of caring duties resulting from coronavirus (for example, childcare is no longer available).