COVID 19 – FAQ’s on Furlough Leave
What does it mean if I have been put on ‘furlough leave’?
When we use the word ‘furlough’ in correspondence it means temporary leave of absence from work. Furlough leave has been introduced by the Government during the covid-19/coronavirus pandemic so that a proportion of paid leave can been offered to employees which keeps them on our payroll whilst they are unable to work.
Who can be furloughed?
We are only able to furlough employees who were on the PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020. These include:
- atypical employees, including those on casual or zero hour contracts;
- employees who were placed on unpaid leave prior to 28 February 2020 cannot be furloughed;
- employees on sick leave or who are self-isolating can only be furloughed once this period of leave is brought to an end;
- employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be furloughed; and
- employees on family leave such as maternity, paternity, adoption or shared parental leave can only be furloughed once this period of leave is brought to an end.
Is there a going to be a gap in my employment if I am furloughed?
There will be no gap in your employment therefore you do not need to use holidays or sickness absence to cover this period. If you are currently on sick leave, and then become fit to work, you can be considered for furlough when your sick note expires. This includes if you have been advised to self-isolate.
I have been put on furlough, does this mean my role is redundant?
No, if you have been placed on furlough, you have been kept on the payroll. This is different to being laid off without pay or being made redundant.
What work can I do if I am furloughed?
Whilst furloughed, you cannot carry out work for us as your employer.
As a furloughed employee you can undertake training if required to do so and you will receive at least the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage for this.
What will happen to my annual leave?
We know many of you have contacted us with questions about your holidays and your entitlement. Unfortunately, we are unable to answer these questions in full at this stage. Once we have further clarification from the Government on holidays through furlough, we will update you via our website.
Can I still keep in touch with my work colleagues during the period of furlough? Can I set up a Facebook or WhatsApp group for my team to join?
You can keep in touch with your colleagues on a personal level as you would have normally outside of work. However, you must not do any work for the Company in any capacity during this time. Please also make sure you follow the normal guidelines regarding social media. You should also regularly check our website where you will find the most up to date information and answers to your questions.
Can I volunteer if I have been furloughed?
Yes. The Government has confirmed that those on furlough will also be permitted to volunteer to help the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak without risking their pay.
Can I continue any additional jobs for other organisations?
Each job should be treated separately. If we are not your only employer, you can be furloughed for each job, and the cap will apply to each individually. Therefore, you can be furloughed from one job whilst continuing to work another job.
What will I be paid?
For salaried employees (both full and part time), you will receive 80% of your gross salary as at 28 February 2020, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month (subject to statutory tax, NI and pension contributions).
If your pay varies from month to month, we will pay you the higher of these two calculations:
- earnings for the same month in the previous year or your average monthly earnings from the 2019-2020 tax year, up to £2,500 per month.
If you have not been employed for 12 months, we will calculate using your average monthly earnings since your employment began.
If I am self-isolating, can I be furloughed?
If you are currently on sick leave or self-isolating due to Covid-19 you would be entitled to SSP, but you may be furloughed after this. You can only claim the furlough payment if you have been furloughed for at least three weeks.
The guidance has specified that those who are ‘shielding’ for 12 weeks in line with public health guidance may also be furloughed however this will only apply if you fall in the category of extremely vulnerable (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19 ). This means employees who are extremely vulnerable (for example, due to organ transplants, lung cancer, severe chest conditions or immunosuppressed conditions) and who have been notified by the NHS to isolate for 12 weeks. Please discuss with your line manager if you have been notified that you are within this category.
Will I be rotated with other staff that are not furloughed?
We may take the decision to take you off furlough and bring you back and put your colleagues back on, subject to you being furloughed for a minimum of a three-week block. This may be also necessary if we require support in our Care business to support the Homes across Prestwick Care.
When will I be paid?
You will receive your wages on your usual pay date.
How will I know when I am able to return to work and will no longer be on furlough?
We are working through the process of furlough and will communicate on how we will contact you with regards to returning to work and the relevant notice.
Will there be work for me to return to after my furlough leave?
Hopefully yes but we cannot commit to this until we know when Government restrictions have been lifted and what impact it will have on the business.
Can you be in and out of furlough depending on work demands?
Yes – if work increases again, people will be taken off furlough on a need basis and this will be communicated through HR.
How long is this expected to last?
The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is initially set to run until the end of May 2020, but the Government has said that the scheme will be extended if necessary. We are keeping the situation under review and will keep you updated as the coronavirus crisis unfolds in the coming months.
If I have a question about the pay / wages I have received, what do I need to do?
In the first instance please email your queries through to HR (HR@malhotragroup.co.uk) and they will liaise with the relevant department.
The HR and Payroll team are now all working from home and are working hard to answer all your queries and will respond to your email as soon as possible. Please be assured that both the Payroll and HR teams are doing all they can to support your queries.
Communicating with you
We will continue to email any significant announcements to you and updates will also be posted on the website under the ‘staff updates’ page.
These FAQ’s are correct as of 1 April 2020. Please see website for further updates.