What's Furlough and Am I Eligible?

By B贸 | April 16th 2020

Many companies have been putting staff on furlough over recent weeks but what is it? What does it mean? And could you be eligible?

If you鈥檙e told you鈥檙e being 鈥榝urloughed鈥櫬

This means your employer is using the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme to keep paying you while you鈥檙e not working - this is called being a 鈥榝urloughed worker鈥.

Furlough means to be put on a leave of absence. Putting someone 鈥榦n furlough鈥 allows companies to claim back 80% of an employee鈥檚 salary, up to a maximum of 拢2,500, so that they can retain staff rather than making them redundant. This means that although you are not working you could still be paid, as the government will cover 80% of your salary for the next four months, up to 拢2,500 per month, pre-tax being deducted, starting from March 1st.聽

The government will only pay your employer if they have evidence you鈥檝e been furloughed. Your employer should have sent you a letter or email explaining you鈥檒l be paid through the scheme. If they haven鈥檛 sent you anything, ask for confirmation from them in writing.聽

If you鈥檙e told you鈥檙e being 鈥榝urloughed鈥櫬燭his means your employer is using the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme to keep paying you while you鈥檙e not working - this is called being a 鈥榝urloughed worker鈥.

Who is eligible?

Anyone that was working in a full-time job (or on a PAYE basis) on March 19th is potentially eligible for the job retention scheme. This includes people on zero-hours contracts and those working flexibly. So if you can鈥檛 go to work (say if you鈥檙e at home self-isolating or at home to care for relatives or children) or have no work to do (e.g. if you work at a bar, restaurant or shop that鈥檚 now closed), then you can ask your employer to put you on 鈥榝urlough鈥. Your employer is then able to claim back up to 80% of your pre-tax salary up to 拢2,500 per month.

If you are furloughed and earn more than 拢2,500/month you will not qualify for 80% of your salary. Your employer may decide to top your salary up so it is 80% of your normal salary, but this will be at their discretion.聽

If you lost your job or were changing jobs due to coronavirus, furlough may still be available, so ask your company. The government is prepared to backdate the payments made, so if you were made redundant after March 19th because your employer no longer had work for you to do, you may be eligible to be furloughed and employers are encouraged to retain staff if they can.

How can I apply?

Any UK employer can apply to this scheme to temporarily cover people鈥檚 salaries. To find out if your company is eligible to visit this government site. If you are an employee you have to agree to be put on furlough. You can鈥檛 apply yourself. The government has also introduced additional measures to support those who are not paid by PAYE such as those who are self-employed under the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

If you need money while you鈥檙e waiting for your employer to pay you, you can:

B贸 is part of National Westminster Bank Plc (鈥淣atWest鈥), registered in England and Wales (Registered Number 929027). Registered Office: 250 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4AA. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. NatWest is entered on the Financial Services Register and its Register number is 121878. The Financial Services Register can be accessed at www.fca.org.uk/register. NatWest's registered VAT number is GB 243852752.

B贸 is protected by The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Read more here.

* If you have accounts with B贸 and NatWest, the maximum you would be able to claim across all accounts combined is 拢85,000.

Photo credit: All our lovely shots come from unsplash.com. Thanks guys!