The UK is currently in its 3rd National Lockdown and the Chancellor has now extended the Furlough Scheme until mid-March 2021. The rules are unchanged – whilst furloughed, employees can engage and enrol onto a training course to enhance skills and further their education.
In March 2020 the Government launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which allows employers to claim for 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wages, up to £2,500 a month, plus their associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.
An estimated 140,000 UK companies have applied for the Coronavirus job furlough scheme and a record number of employees have been put on indefinite leave whilst COVID-19 lockdown remains in place.
WHAT ARE EMPLOYEES NOT ALLOWED TO DO WHILST ON FURLOUGH?
In short, an employer cannot ask any furloughed employee to undertake any type of work that:
- Makes money for the organisation (either directly or indirectly)
- Provides services for your organisation (either directly or indirectly)
WHAT ARE EMPLOYEES ALLOWED TO DO WHILST ON FURLOUGH?
The Government website clearly states that furloughed employees are allowed to:
- Work for a different employer (if contractually allowed to do so)
- Furloughed employees can take part in volunteer work
- Furloughed employees can engage in training
Actually, the Government website states that furloughed employees “should be encouraged to undertake training” to make the most of their time in lockdown and benefit from increased profitability post COVID-19.