Who is covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

Last updated: 25 Nov 2020

The employer must designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’ for them to qualify for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). In this sense, ‘furloughed’ means someone on agreed leave from work.

To be eligible for the scheme, an employee must have been employed on 30 October 2020 and have been included in an electronic payroll submission to HMRC (known as a RTI submission) on or before 30 October 2020. If you were hired after this date, or if you were not included in an RTI submission until after 30 October 2020, you are not covered by the scheme.

However, Prospect has been urging employers to continue paying employees in this situation wherever possible, as they are likely to be a very small proportion of the total pay bill for most employers.

What if I’ve already been made redundant, placed on unpaid leave or stopped working for my employer?

Employees who were made redundant or who stopped working for their employer for other reasons after 23 September 2020 can be rehired and the furloughed, as long as they were included in an RTI submission on or before 23 September. If you were made redundant or stopped working for your employer before 23 September, you are not eligible to be furloughed under the CJRS.

Can I be furloughed under the scheme extension if I wasn’t furloughed before?

Yes, as long as you were employed on 30 October 2020 and have been included in an electronic payroll submission to HMRC on or before 30 October 2020, then you can be furloughed, even if you haven’t been furloughed before.

What if I’m on a zero-hours or flexible contract?

The scheme covers employees on all types of contracts. This includes temporary, casual, and zero-hours contract workers. It is these groups that employers are most likely to ‘let slip through the net’ and Prospect has been working hard to ensure these types of workers are covered wherever possible.

Can apprentices be furloughed?

Yes, apprentices are covered by the scheme and can continue to train while they are furloughed. However, if you are an apprentice and still training while furloughed, your employer must pay you at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage/National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage (whichever is appropriate for you) for the time you spend training, even if that means they have to ‘top-up’ the amounts they receive through the CJRS.

I am unable to work because of caring responsibilities. Can I be furloughed?

Employees who are unable to work because of caring responsibilities can be furloughed.

Can employees on fixed-term contracts be furloughed?

Workers on fixed-term contracts can be furloughed. The guidance states that the contracts can be renewed or extended during the furlough period. If you were on a fixed term contract that ended after 23 September 2020, as long as you were on payroll on 23 September, then your employer can re-employ and furlough you.

I work more than one job – can I be furloughed?

Yes, you can be furloughed from each of the jobs you have if your employers choose, and the cap of 80% of regular salary or £2,500 will apply separately to each job.

What help is there for those that are on PAYE that move from contract to contract?

If you were employed on a PAYE scheme somewhere before  23 September, your former employer can effectively re-hire you, and put you on furlough, with a grant from the government to cover 80% of your wages.

The revised guidance also confirms that the following people are covered by the scheme as long as they are on PAYE:

  • office holders (including company directors)
  • salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships
  • agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies)
  • ‘limb b’ workers (which will include those traditionally not seen as full employees but accepted as workers for the purpose of many statutory rights, such as paid leave etc).

Who is not covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

The CJRS does not cover new starters after 30 October 2020, or anyone who was not included in an RTI submission to HMRC on or before 30 October 2020.

It also does not cover anyone who was made redundant or left their employer before 23 September 2020.

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