‘Furlough’…a term which was rarely used in the UK just over a month ago has likely now become the number one search term for employers concerned about retaining their staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The internet is awash with content on furlough leave and the Government grant scheme which supports it, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). However, many business owners and decision-makers are complaining that the information out there is long-winded, legalise and not easy to understand.

Therefore, I have challenged myself to set out my advice on the top 10 FAQ’s in 10 words or less:

1) What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme? 

A Government grant covering staff wages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2) How much can be claimed?

80% wages (maximum £2.5k p/month), employers NIC’s and pension contributions.

3) Is sales commission and/or bonuses included within this amount? 

If non-discretionary (contractual), yes. If discretionary, no.

4) What is Furlough Leave? 

Temporary leave from work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

5) How can an employer implement furlough? 

By written agreement between you and your staff.

6) Can any member of staff be furloughed or do they have to be at risk of redundancy? 

Any member of staff.

7) Can a person who has left employment be re-employed and then be put on furlough? If so, can they receive backpay and can the employer reclaim it? 

Yes, provided on employer’s PAYE on 19 March 2020. Yes.

8) Can staff members who are on sickness absence be furloughed?

Not if entitled to SSP. Can be furloughed on return.

9) Can “shielding” staff members be furloughed?


10) How can I claim and when will I get paid? 

Via the online HMRC portal and within 6 working days.

Lloyd Clarke is a Solicitors and Partner at Attwells Solicitors, heading up the firm’s Employment Law Department. 

If you or your business are affected in anyway by Covid-19 or any other employment law issue please contact Lloyd Clarke on 01206 239761 or lloyd.clarke@attwells.com for a FREE consultation.