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Can you be made redundant while on the furlough scheme?

MORE than one in four employees are on the government's furlough scheme - but they can go back to work part-time from today.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak hopes to keep millions of Brits employed as lockdown measures are eased, even if they can't work, with his Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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Being furloughed doesn't mean that your boss can't make you redundant
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Being furloughed doesn't mean that your boss can't make you redundant Credit: Getty Images - Getty

The government will pay 80 per cent of furloughed staff wages up to £2,500 a month so that your employer can keep you in a job.

It can be backdated to March 1 and has been extended to run up until the end of October, although it is being wound down from today.

Furloughed employees can go back to work part-time from today and earn their full salary on the hours they work, and 80 per cent of wages on for the contracted hours that that don't.

Our guide takes you through exactly what it means for you if you find it confusing - we even take you through how to calculate your part-time furlough salary.

But does being furloughed protect you from losing your job altogether? Here we explain how being put on the scheme affects redundancy.

Can I be made redundant if I'm on furlough?

Even though furlough is designed to keep workers employed, unfortunately it doesn't protect you from being made redundant.

What is furlough?

THE aim of the government’s job retention scheme is to save one million workers from becoming unemployed due to the lockdown.

Under the scheme, the government will pay 80 per cent – up to £2,500 a month – of wages of an employee who can’t work because of the impact of coronavirus.

Workers will be kept on the payroll rather than being laid off.

The government will pay the associated employer national insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on top.

The scheme has been extended to run until the end of September (although businesses will be asked to chip in from August) and can be backdated to March 1 2020.

It’s available to all employees that started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before March 1, 2020.

If you’re between jobs, have started at a new place of work or were made redundant after this date then you can ask your former employer to rehire you to be eligible for the scheme.

Employers can choose to top up furloughed workers’ salaries by the remaining 20 per cent but they don’t have to.

Firms who want to access the scheme will need to speak to their employees before putting them on furlough.

Previous rules meant that staff shouldn't undertake any work for their employers while on furlough.

But from July 1, staff members are allowed to go back part-time and they must be paid in full for the hours that they work.

But it doesn't affect your redundancy pay rights if you are let go from your job amid the coronavirus crisis.

Your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.

You will be entitled to be consulted on the redundancy lay-off first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you've been working somewhere for at least two years.

How much you're entitled to depends on your age and length of service, although this is capped at 20 years. You'll get:

  • Half a week’s pay for each full year you were under 22,
  • One week’s pay for each full year you were 22 or older, but under 41,
  • One and half week’s pay for each full year you were 41 or older.

Sadly, you won't be entitled to a payout if you've been working for your employer for fewer than two years.

There should be a period of collective consultation as well as time for individual ones if your employer wants to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or each other.

You are also entitled to appeal the decision by claiming unfair dismissal within three months of being let go.

Can I be furloughed if I was made redundant before lockdown?

If you’d been made redundant from your job shortly before lockdown then you can ask your old employer to rehire you so that you can be furloughed.

But you must have been on the RTI payroll on February 28.

When the scheme first launched, employers were wary of rehiring former employees because it wasn’t explicitly outlined in the job retention scheme package.

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However, HMRC has since confirmed that employers can rehire ex-staff to furlough them.

In a statement it said: “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is aimed at those who would otherwise be unemployed as a result of coronavirus.

"It allows for those who were on the payroll of a company on February 28 but subsequently left to be put back on payroll and furloughed.

"This includes those who have resigned to start a new job after February 28.

"They may return to their old employer but decisions around whether to offer to furlough someone are down to the individual company."

You won’t be able to be put on the scheme by a former employer if you left your job because you voluntarily took time out from work, for example, to go travelling.

Boris Johnson warns £100billion furlough scheme 'cannot go on forever' and vows to get Brits back to work
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