Advice on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

8th April 2020

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme


The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is the temporary scheme open to all UK employers for a minimum three months from 1st March 2020. It has been created in order to support the workforce of employers (including public authorities) whose operations have been severely affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The job retention scheme is designed to protect jobs even if businesses are forced to temporarily close.

On 8th April 2020 the Government announced that the online portal would be up and running on 20th April 2020 with a guidance note being sent out to employers to advise how to compile claims. They also clarified the following;


  • The first payment will be made to employers by 30th April. Further payments will be made to employers within 4 to 6 days of submission of the data
  • Employees who were employed on 19 March 2020 (previously 28 February 2020) are eligible for furlough, provided the employer had submitted real time information payroll data by that date
  • HMRC have tested the system capacity and is confident it can process 450,000 claims per hour
  • Only one claim can be made per claim period (either weekly or monthly)
  • A business can make a claim for up to 14 days in advance
  • HMRC will set up an anonymous hotline for employees to report employers who make them work during furlough and criminal proceedings can result.


If you have any questions or need advice on the implications of the Scheme or any of the below points our employment law specialist Anthony Willis is offering a fixed fee Coronavirus Advice Package. For more information email: or call Anthony’s direct dial on (01325) 376503


Questions employers may have include:

  • What does furloughing an employee mean?
  • How do I select who to furlough?
  • Which employees can be furloughed and when?
  • Can we furlough employees on maternity or annual leave?
  • Can an employee be on furlough and annual leave at the same time?
  • Can we furlough employees on sick leave?
  • How long do we have to furlough staff for?
  • Can we rotate staff on furlough?
  • Can a single employee be furloughed multiple times?
  • On what day does the furlough begin?
  • Do I need the employee’s consent to furlough in order to furlough them and for how long?
  • Does furloughing an employee have to be done in writing?
  • What if the employee does not agree to be furloughed?
  • Can an employee work for us while furloughed?
  • Can an employee work for another employer while furloughed?
  • Can we furlough employees who are self-isolating or caring for someone who is vulnerable?
  • Can we make furloughed employees redundant?
  • Can Company Directors be furloughed?
  • If we make an employee redundant without considering furlough options is it likely to amount to unfair dismissal?
  • Can we ask employees to take annual leave while furloughed?
  • What does the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme provide?
  • Who and how do we apply?
  • What information do I need to make a claim?
  • Does the employer have to top up the 80% to 100%?
  • How is the 80% calculated?
  • What is covered under wages and does this include overtime or commission?
  • Can non-monetary benefits be recovered under the Scheme?
  • Do employers still have to make pension contributions?
  • What if the 80% brings the employee’s salary below the minimum wage?

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