The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Last updated 11 November 2020

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) allows the University to reclaim a proportion of the employment costs for staff who have been ‘furloughed’. The scheme originally ran until 31 October but, due to the new national lockdown which started on 5 November, the scheme was extended.  The CJRS is currently due to end on 31 March 2021 but a review is due in January and  the current terms of the scheme only run to 31 January 2021.

This website will be updated whenever the Government publish updates to the scheme. 

 
SUMMARY

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) allows the University to reclaim a proportion of the employment costs for staff who have been ‘furloughed’. The scheme originally ran until 31 October but, due to the new national lockdown, the scheme has now been extended until December 2020The government is yet to confirm the exact end-date, but it is expected to last until at least 2 December when the national lockdown ends. Further guidance on the extended scheme is expected, and this guidance will be updated when the government publish the full details. 

Employees or workers are eligible to be furloughed if, because of the pandemic, they are not able to work:

  • because of their caring responsibilities, or
  • because there is not enough work for them, or 
  • because they cannot do any work remotely (and the role is not taking place onsite, or it is but the Department has not required onsite attendance because of a high vulnerability to COVID-19 of the staff member or their household).

A period of furlough should not be started to cover absences caused by short-term illnesses or self-isolation, but if an employee is already on furlough and then becomes sick, they can remain on furlough (whilst COVID-19 would prevent their return from work even if they  had recovered).

In some circumstances staff on sick leave can be furloughed - see the FAQs on eligibility for further information.

Staff who are serving their notice period may not be furloughed with Government reimbursement after 1 December 2020 (although employees could still agree to remain away from work on paid garden leave during a notice period).

Furloughed staff members remain employees of the University on the same terms and conditions, including the same pay and pensions arrangements, but carry out no work at all for the employer (or any organisations linked or associated with the employer) during the period of their furlough (or on the days on which they are furloughed, if they are on part-time furlough – see below). During this time the employee can carry out training and volunteer (unpaid) for other organisations, but must not carry out any work for the University and should not carry out paid work for other employers during their normal working hours.

The extension to the furlough scheme will support 80% of salaries (to a cap of £2,500pm) with no contributions to NI or pension costs until 31 January 2021. The Government will review this level of reimbursement in January 2021.  The University will continue to use the scheme and to make up salaries to 100%.  The furloughed employee will suffer no financial detriment through being on furlough. There is no link between the furlough scheme and redundancy: being placed on furlough does not lead to redundancy and does not make an employee more likely to be made redundant.
 

A period of furlough must last at least 7 consecutive calendar days. There is no requirement that a member of staff has been previously furloughed to be eligible for the extended furlough scheme.

Furlough can be backdated to 1 November, as long as the employee has not worked since that time and has agreed on or before 13 November that they have not worked (and will continue not to work). If the employee only confirms this after 13 November, the University cannot claim reimbursement in respect of the period from 1 November to the date of the employee confirmation, but could still claim reimbursement going forward. The employee agreement could be by email, SMS or orally (in which case the manager should email themselves this as a filenote, copying in the HR administrator for the department). 

Part-time furlough

Staff may be furloughed part-time ie they may return to work part-time but also spend part of each week on furlough, with the University claiming the appropriate proportion of their costs for the hours on which they are furloughed. Staff must agree in writing to the part-time arrangement, and confirm that they will do no work for the University or an associated employer during the hours they are furloughed. To ensure that the process of claiming reimbursement from HMRC remains manageable, there will be the following limitations on part-time furlough:

  • staff on variable hours contracts will not be placed on part-time furlough
  • we will not bring anyone back to work part-time for less than 40% of their contracts hours ie two days per week for full-time staff, and fewer for part-time staff.

In addition, departments are asked to avoid changing people’s working hours more than once in any pay period whenever possible.

Employment costs

The employment costs that can be reclaimed will be handled centrally and credited back to the department. 

The level of government grant provided through the CJRS is as follows: until 31 January 2021 the government will pay 80% of wages , up to a cap of £2,500, for the hours people are furloughed, but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions. The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021.

N.B. The cap will be proportional to the hours not worked.

HMRC guidance on the scheme is regularly updated and so this guidance may be subject to change. Please ensure you refer to the latest version when implementing furlough.

For the Step-by-step guide, FAQs and Resources follow the tabs at the top of the page

STEP-BY-STEP

HMRC and Government guidance on the scheme is regularly updated and so this guidance may be subject to change. Please ensure you refer to the latest published version of this guidance when implementing furlough.

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Permanent and fixed-term employees who were on PAYE on 30 October 2020 (and included in the University’s RTI file transfer to HMRC with a payment between 20 March and 23 October 2020 and who were not subsequently dismissed) are potentially eligible for furlough, whether they work full-time, part-time or variable hours, or are internally or externally-funded and whether or not they have been furloughed under the previous scheme Casual workers and temporary staff can be furloughed for the period for which we had committed to give them work. UK visa holders can be put on furlough.

Members of staff working in roles of any type can be furloughed. It is possible that academic staff may be furloughed if their caring responsibilities prevent them from carrying out work, but it is not expected that the nature of their work would result in them being furloughed, except in very rare cases, for example if their research and teaching cannot be carried out except in a laboratory or studio that has remained closed because of COVID-19. (Throughout this guidance, the role assigned to line managers will be undertaken by the head of department for academic staff.)

Internally-funded research and research support staff can be furloughed if they are unable to work because of caring responsibilities, or an absence of work, or an inability to work remotely, due to COVID-19, and if they cannot be redeployed.

The University is not at the present time considering furloughing externally-funded research and research support staff where the source of funding is from UK public funders (including UKRI Research Councils, Innovate UK, NIHR and UK government departmental funding. This will be kept under review should additional clarification from government or UK public funders be received.

Departments/Faculties considering furlough for staff supported by European Commission funding should see the sponsor update and/or contact the Research Services European & International Team (katie.price@admin.ox.ac.uk).

Furloughing should only be considered for externally-funded research and research support staff funded by sources other than UK public funders (typically charities, industry and overseas funders). In such cases, grant holders and departments should first obtain confirmation from the funder that:

  1. The funder is content that staff on the award may be furloughed; and
  2. The funder will allow that part of the salary costs not covered by the CJRS scheme (namely 20% of the salary costs and any amount of the salary cost over £2,500 pm and employer NI and pensions costs which are not covered by the CJRS at present, and subject to the review in January 2021) to be charged as an eligible cost to the award;
  3. The existing value of the award would be preserved, meaning that the effect of recovering salary costs through the CJRS would enable the period of the award and employment of staff to be extended within the limits of funds available within the award.

In the event that the funder does not allow costs not covered by the CJRS scheme to be charged to the award as set out in (ii) above, then these costs will have to be met by departmental funds should the department proceed to furlough such staff. There are no plans to provide central University funding for this purpose.

Please read further information about furloughing externally funded research staff on the Research Services COVID-19 funding and project management website, where an additional guidance note can also be downloaded.

A member of staff is eligible to be furloughed if they were on the University’s PAYE payroll on 30 October and included in the University’s RTI file transfer to HMRC on 23 October  with a payment between 20 March and 23 October 2020 and:

  1. They are unable to do work because of the extent of their caring responsibilities linked to Covid-19 (eg they are the sole carer to infants or to children or adults with complex care needs who cannot access their normal care arrangements)

or

  1. They cannot carry out any work  because there is currently no requirement for what they do, or it cannot be done remotely or on-site and they cannot be redeployed within the faculty/department (or, if there is a divisional process in place, in the division) to do other work

or

  1. They are a member of a team where there is a reduced requirement for the type of work carried out by that team, or only some of the team’s work can be done from home, and so the work could be carried out by fewer staff members. In this instance, some staff may be furloughed, some may continue to work and some may move between work and furlough, with each period of furlough lasting not less than 7 consecutive calendar days.

Departments should assess whether members of staff meet one of these criteria and so should be furloughed, or put on part-time furlough.  Individuals cannot choose to be furloughed, but they should tell their manager if they think they should be considered for furlough.

Where departments are considering furloughing a member of staff, they should discuss that with them (see below), providing information to reassure them that the furlough will have no impact on their job security, pay, or terms and conditions. Members of staff who are to be furloughed full-time are asked to confirm in writing that they agree that they will not carry out any work for the University or for a linked or associated employer during their period of furlough. Staff may not be placed on furlough without this confirmation. (Staff who are placed on part-time furlough should conduct no work for the University or any associated employer during the days / hours when they are furloughed).

Heads of Department, working with Heads of Administration and Finance (HAF), HR managers or equivalents, will decide the level at which furlough decisions will be made, taking into account the size and structure of the department. It is expected that line managers, who best understand the work and the staff members’ situations, will be involved in talking to individuals and understanding their situations.  Advice for Heads of Department, HAFs and departmental HR staff on implementing the furlough scheme will be provided separately.

The University’s aim is to furlough all those staff who are eligible (ie they have no work, cannot do their work remotely or are unable to work because of COVID-19-related caring responsibilities), in order to maximise the saving to the department and the University.

Managers will have to balance off several competing factors when deciding which staff to furlough or refurlough. They should apply the steps outlined below as fairly, objectively and consistently as possible, seeking support and advice from their HR contact where necessary.

It will be necessary to review furloughing decisions regularly to see whether staff members’ situations have changed or the work of the team has reduced or increased. It is recommended that this is done fortnightly, or whenever there are relevant changes, such as schools and/or childcare facilities closing or reopening. Staff members can be removed from furlough with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice (although departments should give more notice where possible).

 

First, consider whether the member of staff has caring responsibilities caused by COVID-19 that mean they cannot carry out their normal duties, or carry out all of their normal duties. Those responsibilities might be for children, elderly relatives or other dependants who live with them.

The University wishes to continue to support all its staff in balancing their caring responsibilities and working life, recognising that the time available to work may be constrained for some staff in the current circumstances. The University aims to make all practical adjustments possible to allow staff to continue to work. It also recognises that in a small number of instances, it will not be possible to work and manage the caring responsibilities that arise as a result of COVID-19. 

If caring commitments prevent the staff member from undertaking any work, or  undertaking their full duties during their normal working hours or other hours of the day when someone might reasonably expect to work, they should be furloughed either full-time or part-time.

Although a member of staff might work different hours from their normal contracted hours, the hours they work must be appropriate for the type of work they do, and reasonable in the circumstances. For example, a staff member might split their day between childcare and work, sometimes working at unusual times: this person would not be furloughed. However, it would not be reasonable to expect someone to spend all day caring for dependants and to work every evening after they are in bed – this person is likely to be furloughed.

Line managers may already be aware of the situations of team members but should avoid making assumptions about their ability to work based on their caring responsibilities or any protected characteristic, such as sex, marital status, disability or any other factor. They should have a conversation with each team member to ensure they understand the type and extent of their commitments and how they are managing them. Those conversations should be confidential, although the line manager may need to consult their own manager, their HAF or HR contact in confidence if they are unsure what to do in response to any given circumstance.

Departments will need to exercise their discretion in assessing what is reasonable to ask of their team members in the circumstances. It will be relevant to consider:

  • the extent of the care that their dependants require;
  • the age of any children at home (a 14 year-old may not require full-time supervision, but a 2 year-old will); and,
  • whether there are other adults in the household, who are in a position to share caring responsibilities.

Decisions should be applied fairly and consistently across all members of the team and should be based on genuine constraints to working, bearing in mind that the furloughing of an individual may place additional workload pressures on other team members.

Action: If the staff member cannot reasonably do any work remotely due to caring responsibilities related to COVID-19, they should be furloughed (see ‘How to put a member of staff on furlough’ below). The further steps outlined here do not apply to that staff member.

 

Consider whether there is sufficient work for the staff member to do to reflect their normal working hours, and whether that work can be done remotely  or on-site (if on-site work would be required taking into account the vulnerability levels of the staff member and their household). If, as a result of COVID-19, there is no work, or insufficient work,  for that individual to do, either their normal duties or other tasks within their team or section, that had already been identified as necessary, they should be redeployed (see Step 3 below) or furloughed full-time or part-time.

Line managers should not assign new work or projects that had not already been identified as necessary for the team just to keep members of staff off furlough.

If only part of their role can be done remotely or on-site, part-time furlough should be considered if redeployment for the affected hours is not possible.

Action: If the staff member cannot carry out all or part of their normal work remotely or on-site because of COVID-19, they should be redeployed (see Step 3 below) or furloughed full or part-time.

 

It is a requirement that the University consider whether any member of staff who cannot carry out their normal duties because of the nature of the work can be redeployed before they are furloughed.

Departments are likely to have a system in place already to identify where additional support is needed because the work has increased due to COVID-19 or because of staff absences. There are also some divisional level  redeployment arrangements and departments should check for suitable redeployment opportunities at a divisional level before furloughing staff. A ‘one-off’ check will be sufficient: there is no need to delay furloughing staff in case a redeployment need arises.

The nature and hours of the work that redeployed staff are asked to undertake should be reasonable in the circumstances, and any necessary and practicable training and support should be given. Changes to the nature and hours of work should be discussed and agreed with the individual, noting that the individual's pay and benefits will not be affected by such temporary redeployment.  It is hoped that all staff will work flexibly, on a temporary basis, to support the objectives of the University during this time of crisis. However, if any individual is unhappy with a proposed change of work or hours of work, please seek advice from your HR contact.

Any such redeployment will be temporary and kept under regular review. The individual’s line manager should stay in regular contact to check on their welfare and keep them up to date with developments in their own team.

Action: if the staff member can be redeployed within the department or the wider University, they should be redeployed. If redeployment is not possible, they should be furloughed. Departmental HR staff should record the dates of the furlough on CoreHR.

 

There may be situations where there is a reduced requirement for a type of work to be carried out within a team, such that some staff can be furloughed, while others continue to deliver the team’s work. This situation will require managers to balance different factors in deciding which staff should be furloughed and which should continue to work.

In this situation, please follow these principles, and consult your Head of Administration and Finance, HR contact or equivalent as necessary:

  1. Consider whether some members of the team have caring responsibilities that limit their ability to carry out their duties remotely. If those responsibilities mean that the staff member is able to carry out only a small proportion of their duties, or that they are coming under significant strain as a result of balancing work and domestic responsibilities, you may decide to furlough them. Such decisions should only be made in consultation with the individual concerned.
  2. Consider the skills needed to carry out the team’s work:
  • do some team members have broader experience and greater ability to complete all aspects of the work than others or have specialist knowledge or skills that need to be retained?
  • are some team members relatively new to the role or in more junior grades and so less suited to working independently?  It is important that decisions are made objectively and not based on any stereotyped assumptions.
  1. Talk to each of your team members, individually and privately, and find out their preferences. Some may prefer to be furloughed eg to assist them with caring responsibilities, whereas others may want to continue to work. Their preferences do not bind you, but can be taken into account in decision-making.

Remember:

  • not to make assumptions about someone’s caring responsibilities or preferences: ask them what work they can manage, without questioning their personal arrangements. Anything they tell you is confidential although you may need to consult an HR contact or senior manager in confidence if you are unsure what to do;
  • not to base your decision on any of the characteristics protected under the Equality Act (https://edu.admin.ox.ac.uk/legal-framework#collapse1082001) – age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation –  (see ‘Equality Considerations’ below).  It is important to be mindful of the potential (unintentional) impacts on equality, for example if everyone being considered for furlough were to share a protected characteristic;
  • to reassure all team members that they will remain on the same pay and conditions while on furlough, and that furloughing decisions will be reviewed regularly;
  • to take into account the working hours of team members – you shouldn’t ask someone to work more than their normal working hours or at unreasonable times;
  • while it is in the University’s interests to furlough staff where possible, you should not overburden those who remain in work.

These considerations may allow you to achieve the required level of resource in the team, while meeting the needs and aspirations of the team’s members.

If, having taken caring responsibilities, the requirements of the work and personal preferences into account, more team members are available to work than are required, you should consider whether it would be operationally possible to operate a ‘shift’ system, such that:

  • some members of the team work for a period and then are placed furlough for a period of at least 7 consecutive calendar days, and vice versa; and/or
  • all employees are placed on partial furlough (e.g, working 2 days a week, furlough for 3 days), and then working days arranged to provide the necessary cover.

Although this approach will require some coordination, e.g. to manage handovers, in many cases this will be the fairest approach. Employees can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of 7 consecutive calendar days.

 

If the employee has not worked since 1 November and you wish to backdate the furlough to 1 November  the deadline by which you must have notified the member of staff, and have them agree (orally or in writing) that they have not and will not work,  is 13 November.   

If the employee only confirms this after 13 November  the University cannot claim reimbursement in respect of the period from 1 November to the date of the employee confirmation, but could still claim reimbursement going forward. The employee agreement could be by email, SMS or orally (in which case the manager should email themselves of this as a filenote and copy in the HR administrator in their department).   

Where appropriate, staff may be placed on part-time furlough. This means that they will work part-time and be furloughed part-time. They will continue to be paid 100%, with the University paying 100% for the hours they work and the government reimbursement covering the same pattern as for full-time ie 80% of salary (until 31 January 2021 and subject to review) for the hours on furlough (to a cap of £2,500 and excluding employer NI and pension costs) and the government reimbursing the hours they are on furlough.

Part-time furlough will enable departments to manage an increase in work, and enable those with caring responsibilities to continue to carry out some work. It will also ease the transition back to work for staff who have been on furlough for an extended period.

To ensure that the process for seeking reimbursement from HMRC remains manageable, the following limitations will apply:

  • staff on variable hours contracts will not be placed on part-time furlough; and,
  • we will not bring anyone back to work part-time for less than 40% of their contracts hours ie two days per week for full-time staff, and fewer for part-time staff.

In addition, departments are asked to avoid changing people’s working hours more than once in any pay period whenever possible.

As with full-time furlough, you should discuss individually and confidentially with the staff member your proposal to move them to part-time furlough. The staff member must agree to the new arrangement (ideally in writing, after the furlough letter is sent, but keep a record of any earlier verbal agreement, as this may allow a claim for furlough reimbursement to start earlier ) and they must be given reasonable notice before the new arrangement starts (eg long enough to make any necessary arrangements for care of dependants).

During the days / hours they are on part-time furlough, staff may not do any work for the University or an associated employer, although they may continue to volunteer or to engage in social or training activities.

A template letter for placing someone on part-time furlough is available from the Resources tab.

The University is committed to embedding equality and inclusion in all its activities and has considered the potential impacts on equality – both negative and positive – in the development of its furlough policy. Evidence of impact will be continually reviewed during the implementation period and the policy will be revised as necessary. There are factors that all managers should bear in mind when making decisions and supporting their staff through a period of furlough:

  • decisions on who to furlough should be made fairly and objectively and the criteria must avoid being directly or indirectly discriminatory. This means that equality considerations such as whether someone has one of the characteristics protected under the Equality Act (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation) should not influence decisions.  Managers need to consider the potential negative and positive impacts on equality when choosing who to furlough. Are the selection criteria unbiased? Are there are unintended consequences? Will particular groups, for example,  women / young people / BME people / disabled people / foreign nationals be more likely to be furloughed? Are these decisions being based on objective criteria or is there an implicit bias against any equality group?
  • in the process of selecting staff for furlough, you should not treat differently from other staff those who are over 70, pregnant, have a disability, are in a high risk group or are ‘shielding’ for other reasons. Decisions should be based solely on the criteria set out in Steps 1-4 above. You should, however, take into account any request from a member of staff in one of these categories to be placed on furlough, e.g. if your team is conducting COVID-19 related research and the staff member wishes to remain at home for reason related to a disability and cannot carry out alternative work;
  • if a member of staff has a disability you should take all reasonable steps to put adjustments in place to enable them to carry out their work remotely. If it is not reasonable to make the adjustments necessary to enable them to work remotely, they should then be considered for redeployment and, only if that is not possible, placed on furlough. Read the advice on making adjustments or contact the Staff Disability Advisor
  • don’t make assumptions about someone’s caring responsibilities or ability to work based on their sex, marital status, disability or any other factor. Don’t assume that because someone has caring responsibilities they will not also be able to work
  • consider whether any of your staff may need additional support through the decision-making process, or when they are on furlough. Some staff may need more support to manage the uncertainty, change and isolation that many of us are experiencing at present . There are resources available to help with this

If a member of the team tells you about a personal circumstance and you are not sure whether you should take it into account, please consult your HR contact in confidence.

You should contact those staff who are to be furloughed individually. You should reassure them that this decision will have no impact on their job security, pay, pension or other terms and conditions.

You should ask staff if they agree to stop work during a proposed furlough period and take a note of any response (as this will allow a claim for reimbursement to start from when the furlough period starts, rather than potentially having to wait for the employee to respond to the written furlough letter).

In most departments, this decision will be confirmed to the individual in writing by the local HR contact, rather than by line managers. Your department will confirm the process for this. Template letters for this purpose are provided in Resources. The individual is asked to return the template email confirming that they understand and agree to the conditions of furlough. Where the individual does not have access to email the letters should be sent by post. It is a requirement of the CJRS that:

  • the employer confirms in writing to the employee that they have been furloughed,
  • the employee responds confirming that they will carry out no work for the employer or for a linked or associated employer for the period of the furlough (for those staff being re-furloughed who have already responded formally during the first round of furlough, a lighter touch response such as an email acknowledgement is sufficient), and
  • these letters/emails are kept on file for five years.

If, after discussion and reassurance, a member of staff remains reluctant to be furloughed, discuss this with your local HR contact.

HR action: Please read the quick reference guide on the necessary CoreHR actions. Remember that if you are using a shift system for furlough, or placing someone on part-time furlough you must ensure that CoreHR is kept up to date with the start and finish dates of each period of furlough, and that every member of staff to be furloughed is kept up to date in writing.

 

The costs that can be reclaimed will be handled centrally and credited back to the department. More information on this will be provided to departmental finance contacts in due course.

HR action: If the member of staff to be furloughed is a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa holder and their salary/ funding changes as a result of being put on furlough, submit a ‘Changes’ form to the Staff Immigration Team (SIT), as this will have to be reported to the Home Office. If their salary remains unchanged nothing should need to be reported.

 

Please stay in contact with your member of staff during their furlough period. As they will not be reading work emails, they may prefer to give you a personal email address or phone number for this purpose, although they are not obliged to do so. You should tell them about developments in the team, the department and the University, and encourage them to keep you up to date on their domestic situation, health and caring responsibilities.

Those who are on furlough can, if they wish:

  • attend (remote) team events as long as they are purely social;
  • access University welfare and development materials on line;
  • undertake training and development activity, provided on-line/remotely, whether by the University or other providers (provided that it is relevant to the job and agreed with the line manager before being undertaken); and,
  • volunteer for other organisations (provided the volunteer work does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the University or a linked or associated organisation).

Those who are able and willing to do so are encouraged to undertake unpaid volunteering in the community.

Staff on furlough should not undertake any work at all for the University or for any linked or associated organisations and should not take other paid work during their normal working hours for the University. Those who are on part-time furlough should not do any work for the University in any hours in which they are not working.

Staff members on furlough should put on an appropriate ‘out of office’ message, since they will not be able to respond to work emails during their period of furlough.

You should review furlough arrangements regularly, considering both individuals’ situations and the work requirements in the team. Staff can be asked to return to work with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice, although you should give them as much notice as operationally possible and at least long enough to make alternative care arrangements where required.

A template letter for the end of a furlough period is available.  Further templates are available from the Resources tab.

For the Summary, FAQs and Resources follow the tabs at the top of the page

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Further information about the scheme has been set out below, grouped as FAQs for managers and for individual employees/workers.

FAQs FOR LINE MANAGERS / PIs

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New: Can I furlough someone if they were not furloughed under the first round of the CJRS?

Yes, as long as they meet the scheme’s eligibility criteria relating to caring responsibilities or the availability of work that they can do, they can be furloughed whether or not they were furloughed last time

Why would I want to furlough my team members, when this means I can’t give them any work to do?

It is in the best interests of the University's and the Faculty / Department's longer-term financial position to furlough individuals and to recoup a large proportion of their employment costs if they do not have work to do, or cannot work. This will also give certainty to individuals about our expectations and free up those who wish to volunteer to do so. You should not furlough individuals who can still do the work they are employed to do, or who can be redeployed within the Faculty / Department or division.

What is the minimum length of a period of furlough?

Periods of furlough beginning on or after 1 November may last for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days. NB we ask that departments do not change individual’s working hours, if they are part-time furloughed more than once in any period, to ensure the claim process from HMRC remains manageable.

Who is eligible to be furloughed?

Any staff who were on the University PAYE on 30 October 2020  (and were included in the University’s RTI file transfer to HMRC with a payment between 20 March and 23 October 2020 and were not subsequently dismissed) are eligible to be furloughed if they meet the criteria, whether or not they were furloughed under the previous scheme.

Can I backdate the period of furlough to 1 November?

Furlough can be backdated to 1 November, as long as the employee was not working since that time and has agreed on or before 13 November that they have not worked (and will continue not to work). If the employee only confirms this after 13 November the University cannot claim reimbursement in respect of the period from 1 November to the date of the employee confirmation, but could still claim reimbursement going forward. The employee agreement could be by email, SMS or orally (in which case the manager should email themselves of this as a filenote and copy in the HR administrator in their department).   

If you think that special circumstances apply, please consult your HR contact. Even if someone has been on special paid leave, please ensure you send the required template letter (or otherwise seek agreement to furlough re-starting), and ensure the employee returns the required email (by 13 November if a backdated claim is needed and the employee has not otherwise agreed orally), to ensure HMRC requirements are satisfied.

Can visa holders be furloughed?

UK visa holders can be put on furlough, as reclaiming salary through the CJRS does not count as their having ‘recourse to public funds’.

Will being on furlough affect a visa or work permit?

No, being on furlough should not adversely affect visa holders. Any changes in salary/ funding for Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa holders will need to be reported to the Home Office.. Home Office guidance, on periods which would not count against the limit on absences when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), has been amended to include travel disruption due to a pandemic. It is not certain, however, if this only applies to periods when travel back to the UK was not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions on travel. If this is the case periods where visa holders could have returned to the UK but chose not to might still be counted against the absence limit. The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) is seeking clarification on this but would suggest that those concerned about the length of their absences affecting a future ILR application should return to the UK as soon as they can.

Does the furlough guidance apply to colleges and subsidiaries?

This guidance applies to the University (including the departmental colleges – St Cross, Kellogg and Reuben) but not to other colleges.

Subsidiary companies are developing their own guidance; some may decide to follow the University’s guidance.

What if I think I should furlough a member of my team and they disagree?

You should reassure the member of staff that their pay and conditions will remain unchanged and that this decision has no impact on their future job security. You could also talk to them about your plans to regularly review your decision. If they remain concerned, please consult your HR contact.

A member of staff cannot be furloughed unless they confirm (ideally in writing ) that they will not conduct any work for the University or for a linked or associated employer.

Is a college a linked employer?

For non-academic staff, a college will not be a linked or associated employer, unless the work carried out under one contract benefits the other employer. That means that staff who have a second contract with a college can be furloughed from University employment without being furloughed from the college and vice versa.

There may be exceptions for academic staff, since the government guidance states that working for another employer must not constitute ‘working indirectly’ for the University.  This might apply to research, which would benefit both the college and University if carried out by an academic with a joint appointment. We do not expect academic staff to be furloughed, except in a small number of cases, but please do seek further advice if you are considering furloughing someone with a joint appointment with a college.

A casual teaching contract with a college is unlikely to constitute ‘indirect working’ for the University and so should not prevent someone being furloughed from University employment.

Is the NHS a linked employer?

No, although care must be taken that work carried out for the NHS, whether as a volunteer or under a separate contract of employment, does not fall within the individual’s contractual duties for the University. It should not constitute ‘indirect working’ for the University. If it does, they cannot be furloughed.

Can I read the government guidance on the scheme?

Yes. The scheme guidance can be found at the following links.  Please check back regularly for updates.

When does someone need to have joined the University to be eligible for furlough?

To be eligible for furlough, someone must have been on the University PAYE on 30 October 2020. This means that they were on a Real Time Information (RTI) submission notifying payment for that employee to HMRC made on 23 October 2020 (or during the period 20 March to 23 October) and were not subsequently dismissed.

Are variable hours employees eligible to be put on furlough?

Yes. Please refer to ‘Paying variable hours employees and casual workers on furlough’ below.

NB variable hours staff cannot be placed on part-time furlough 

Are employees on fixed-term contracts eligible for furlough?

Yes, for as long as their employment with us lasts – see below for further guidance on extending contracts.

Can we extend the contracts of fixed term staff who are furloughed?

To be consistent with the principles of the government scheme and to avoid significant unbudgeted costs, we will not extend the fixed-term contracts. We may furlough those whose employment would have come to an end if the current crisis had not occurred. As the end of a fixed-term contract nears the contract may be extended and the employee remain on furlough only if:

  • there is work for the individual to carry out should return to onsite working be agreed during the agreed extension and there is funding agreed to support the extension;

AND

  • from 1 December, the staff member won’t be serving a notice period (although this will normally only be the case if the Department has given notice to end a fixed-term contract before its expiry date - the letter that Departments send to employees reminding them of the upcoming end of a fixed-term contract on its end-date does not count as a notice period);

AND

  • for internally funded fixed-term employees the employing department is confident that it would have extended their contract if the COVID-19 crisis had not occurred. If the costs are to be met from within departmental budgets the extension will be subject to recruitment protocol agreement and the relevant process must have been completed and authorisation granted before an extension is agreed;

OR

  • For externally funded fixed-term employees departments have obtained confirmation from the funder that:
  1. The funder is content that staff on the award may be furloughed;
  2. The funder will allow that part of the salary costs not covered by the CJRS  (that is, subject to review in January 2021, 20% of the salary costs, employer NIC and pensions contributions and any amount of the salary cost over £2,500pm) to be charged as an eligible cost to the award; and
  3. The existing value of the award would be preserved, meaning that the effect of recovering salary costs through the CJRS would enable the period of the award and employment of staff to be extended within the limits of funds available within the award.

We don’t have any departmental/external funds available to furlough an employee who is reaching the end of their fixed-term contract – can we still furlough them and just pay them at 80% of their usual salary, so that the costs are covered by the government’s CJRS?

The University has committed that it will pay staff at their normal rate of pay.

Are casual and temporary staff (including TSS) eligible to be put on furlough?

Yes, casual and temporary workers can be furloughed for any period for which we had a commitment to provide them with work. We would not expect to extend commitments to casual or temporary workers where we do not have work for them to do.

Those on variable hours engagements will have their pay (and the amount to be recouped through the CJRS) calculated as specified for variable hours employees – see above.

Are contractors eligible to be put on furlough?

Self-employed contractors may be able to claim for themselves from the government’s scheme but the University cannot put them on furlough.

Contractors working through IR35 and paid through our payroll are eligible for furlough.

Are apprentices eligible to be put on furlough?

Yes. The government has arrangements in place to allow them to continue with the ‘off the job’ training element of their Apprenticeship while on furlough.

You should inform the apprentice’s Training Provider and the University Apprenticeships Team, using the form available on the University Apprenticeships webpage, so that an assessment can be made of whether the apprentice needs to take a temporary break in their learning or can continue.

If you have any questions about how furlough applies to apprentices and to access the form please consult information on the University Apprenticeships webpage.

Are those on doctoral training schemes, or other programmes with a work and study element, eligible for furlough?

It is unlikely that they will be eligible for furlough, since any study they undertook may be deemed to be too closely related and contributing to their work. Unless the lockdown prevents them from both studying and working, they should not be furloughed. If they cannot do either, seek further HR advice, and consider suspending their studies too.

Should we furlough staff who are ‘shielding’?

Whilst individuals are no longer required to ‘shield’ a member of staff who cannot attend work (regardless of whether their work is ‘essential work’ or not) because they have been instructed by their doctor, the NHS or other government advice to stay at home and who cannot be redeployed to work that they can carry out from home, should be furloughed. The reason for this should be recorded as ‘unable to work at home’.

Are those who entered the University’s employment as a result of a TUPE transfer eligible for furlough? What if they joined recently?

The normal rules apply in respect of eligibility for furlough apply to staff who have TUPE transferred except that they must have been employed by their prior employer on or before 30 October 2020 and transferred from them to the University on or after 1 September 2020.

Can staff be furloughed while on family leave?

No one can be furloughed on the grounds that they are on family leave.

Someone can be furloughed while in receipt of contractual maternity pay (or its equivalent for other types of family leave) if:

  • they meet the criteria ie they have agreed to do no work for the period of their furlough,
  • it lasts 7 consecutive calendar days or more, and
  • they are unable to do the work they would be doing if not on family leave because of reasons related to COVID-19 (ie due to COVID-19-related caring responsibilities or the nature of their work)

It is unlikely that someone would be furloughed while on family leave unless others in their team or doing similar jobs were also being furloughed.

Someone cannot be furloughed while in receipt of statutory maternity, paternity, shared parental  or adoption pay only or while on unpaid family leave of any type.

Can someone returning from family leave (maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption, parental bereavement leave) be furloughed?

Any staff who are on the University’s payroll at 30 October, and were on an RTI submission with a payment between 20 March and 23 October 2020, can be furloughed.

Can someone be furloughed while on sick leave?

A period of furlough should not be started to cover absences caused by short-term illnesses or self-isolation, but if an employee is already on furlough and then becomes sick, they can remain on furlough (whilst COVID-19 would prevent their return from work even if they did get better).  

Someone can also be furloughed if they are currently on paid sick leave under the contractual or statutory sick pay scheme and it is clear that they would have been furloughed had they been in work i.e. others in their team carrying out the same or similar duties have been furloughed. Furlough cannot be used for someone who is currently on unpaid sick leave and is not yet ready to return to work.

The period of sickness absence will end when staff move to furlough and so the period of furlough will not count towards their sickness absence record and they will return to full pay.

Can someone be furloughed if they have occasional work to do?

Yes, as long as they will have a period of 7 consecutive calendar days between the occasions on which they need to work. This might fit for someone who has a residual task to do that takes place monthly. You might also consider whether a period of part-time furlough would work.

Can I furlough someone who is working their notice?

If an employee is serving a notice period (eg because they have resigned or given notice of termination for redundancy other than the end of a fixed term contract at its expected end date) but cannot perform work because of COVID-19, then during November the employee can be furloughed and it seems government reimbursement can be claimed. From 1 December no government reimbursement can be claimed (although, if appropriate, a department could still agree with the employee that they will be on paid garden leave (without government reimbursement) during their notice period). Staff who are approaching the end of a fixed term contract which is ending at its expected end date can be furloughed as, although the University process requires that they are reminded of their contract end date, this is not formally a notice period.

New: We have an employee who has two (or more) jobs at the University – can they be furloughed from one post and not the other?

Yes.  The requirement of the furlough scheme is that during the hours that an employee is furloughed they should not be working for the employer.  Therefore, an employee who works, for example, Monday to Wednesday in one University post and Thursday and Friday in another could be furloughed from one of these posts, since during the hours they are furloughed they would not be working elsewhere in the University. This is less straightforward for a Variable Hours employee with multiple posts who is only furloughed from one post. Departments will need to ensure that between the furlough pay and pay for hours actually worked no more than the equivalent of the individual's normal full pay is being paid to the individual. If the hours for the worked role increase it may no longer be appropriate to continue paying the employee (or claiming reimbursement) for some or all of the furloughed role. The general idea would be that the employee should not receive more pay (nor should reimbursement be claimed) as a result of going onto furlough for one role than would have been the case if the employee had continued working both roles.

Information about the CJRS and research staff, including research support staff,  is available in the Resources tab.

To read  COVID-19 funding and project management guidance see the Research Services website.

 

How do we get the employee’s agreement to be furloughed in writing if they don’t have email access at home?

You can call them and/or write to them by post and ask them to reply by post, or by text message, using the text provided (see Resources). If the latter, keep a screenshot on file. If this proves not to be possible, it will be sufficient to keep a written record that the person has agreed orally to the furlough arrangement.

What out of office message should someone going on furlough use?

That is up to them. They do not have to refer to being on furlough if they prefer not to; they can just say that they are unavailable. They should state that they will not be able to reply to work emails and give an alternative contact. For example:

Thank you for contacting me. I will be  out of the office until [date / further notice] and will be unable to read or respond to emails. Please contact [details] in my absence.

Should we make any changes to someone’s University card status, buildings access or SSO while they are on furlough?

No, those on furlough retain all rights and privileges even though they cannot do any work for the University or linked or associated organisations.

Does annual leave continue to accrue while on furlough?

Yes.

What if someone has leave booked during the furlough period?

They should still take the leave as planned. It is understood that staff may not wish to book leave during a period of furlough but if they have commitments that would render them unavailable, with 24 hours notice, to resume work during the period of furlough (not including unavailability as a result of sickness or caring responsibilities), they should book that period as leave.

A period of leave will not ‘break’ the period of furlough.

The normal leave carry over rules apply whether or not employees are on furlough.

Can we require staff to take annual leave whilst on furlough?

The normal leave carry-over rules apply whether or not employees are on furlough so staff should be encouraged to book periods of leave if they are on extended furlough.  You should remind furloughed staff that they must be available to attend/recommence work with 24 hours notice and therefore that they must book annual leave for any period that they would be unavailable to do so (for example, if they are going on vacation, or during school holiday periods if they have childcare responsibilities that would mean they could not work if required to do so).

What if someone is nearing the end of their probation while on furlough?

If the employee was very close to the end of their probation and were clearly going to be confirmed in post, you can confirm them in post in the normal way.

Otherwise, you should write to them and let them know that, given the unique circumstances, their probation will be extended by the period of their furlough as a supportive measure to enable them to demonstrate that they should be confirmed in post on return.

What if someone is nearing the end of their fixed-term contract while on furlough?

The end of fixed-term contract procedures should be followed as normal with any meetings held remotely. The usual support eg in redeployment, should be offered. These meetings do not count as work for the purposes of the furlough scheme. 

If an employee is serving a notice period (eg because they have resigned or given notice of termination for redundancy other than the end of a fixed term contract at its expected end date), but cannot perform work because of COVID-19, then during November the employee can be furloughed and it seems government reimbursement can be claimed. From 1 December though, no government reimbursement can be claimed (although, if appropriate, a Department could still agree with the employee that they will be on paid garden leave (without government reimbursement) during their notice period). Staff who are approaching the end of a fixed-term contract which is ending at its expected end date can be furloughed as, although the University process requires that they are reminded of their contract end date, this is not formally a notice period.

See the FAQs on Eligibility (above) for further guidance on contract extensions during periods of furlough.

What if someone becomes sick while on furlough?

Those who are furloughed who become sick should let you know as normal, so that they can be supported as necessary, but do not move them to sick leave, as this would break the period of furlough. If the period of furlough ends while they are still sick, they move to sickness absence. As normal, they can self-certify for one week, and should then get a Fit Note (please check with your local HR contact as special arrangements may apply during the pandemic and it is recognised that it may be harder to obtain a Fit Note).

What if someone wants to work for the NHS while on furlough?

Anyone can volunteer while on furlough, for the NHS or other organisations.

If staff want to take paid employment with the NHS while on furlough, they should talk to their department about arranging a temporary reduction in FTE or a period of unpaid leave to allow them to do so. Any residual hours on their University contract can be furloughed, as long as the work the member of staff is doing for the NHS could not be described as ‘indirect work’ for the University. If the staff member takes unpaid leave, they must be removed from furlough. If they have not had a period of furlough of 7 consecutive calendar days, no claim can be made from the CJRS.

What happens if the work of the team increases and staff are on furlough?

You can ask someone to return to work, either full- or part-time, with a minimum of 24 hours’ notice (although you should give them more notice than that if operationally possible). You should remember that if they have not been on furlough for a minimum of 7 consecutive calendar days, the University will then be unable to claim their costs, and they cannot move to part-time furlough.

What if child or elder care facilities reopen?

Managers should review furloughing arrangements with their staff members regularly and whenever there is a significant change in the situation. If staff members become available for work again, and there is work that they can do remotely, you should arrange that they return to work, either full- or part-time, making sure they have at least 24 hours’ notice (and longer, wherever possible).

If we are using a shift basis to manage team members working and going on furlough, can the shift / rota be worked on the basis of more than 7 consecutive calendar days?

There may be exceptional circumstances in which this is appropriate, but 7 consecutive calendar days is likely to be the best period to use, because we want to maximize the chances of being fair to all those on the shift / rota system, and we do not know how long the current constraints will last. You may need to factor in a day or handover between team members in between the periods of furlough.  There is no minimum period for the time spent working between periods of furlough: it can be only one day.

Can we progress disciplinary or grievance cases for staff who are furloughed?

In many cases, yes, although a case-by-case consideration is needed. There is more guidance for HR staff in the Sharepoint FAQ document, and the department’s HR Business Partner can advise.

Can we require staff to be redeployed?

We hope that staff will work flexibly during this period and be prepared to undertake other duties on a temporary basis, sometimes in other departments or at other grades, when needed. The extent to which staff can be required to undertake other duties depends on the extent to which those duties fall within the employee’s contractual job title and job description.  Factors to take into account will include the extent to which the duties are commensurate with their grade, and whether their job title and job description are sufficiently generic to encompass the duties they are being asked to take on. Any support or training required should be given. Please discuss any concerns with your HR contact, prior to confirming a decision.

Staff cannot elect to be furloughed if suitable redeployment is available.

What if a redeployment need arises that someone on furlough could fill?

If, after an individual is furloughed, a redeployment need arises at departmental or divisional level that the furloughed employee could fill, the employing department should discuss it with the individual and seek to redeploy them. This will mean ending the furlough period early, with notice (a minimum of 24 hours), and may mean that a claim for employment costs through the CJRS cannot be made, if the furlough period has lasted less than 7 consecutive calendar days.

What if someone wants to be redeployed rather than furloughed?

Departments should check whether there is any need for redeployed resources internally within the department, and, in those divisions where there is a division-wide process for sharing resources, whether there are any suitable redeployment opportunities across the division, before furloughing members of staff.

Are there templates for redeploying people?

Not at present. We would suggest writing to them to confirm the dates of this redeployment, that their pay and benefits will not change, and who they are responsible to. They should be told who to speak to about any questions or concerns, and how you will keep in touch with them

What should we pay variable hours employees and casual workers while they are on furlough?

The University will honour the commitments it has already made to variable hours and casual workers whilst they are on furlough. 

Where a furloughed casual worker or variable hours employee has been employed for twelve months or more, they will be paid the higher of the following three calculations:

  • same month’s earnings from the previous year; or
  • average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year; or 
  • earnings they would have received under any prior commitment from the University e.g. an existing agreed rota, an agreement for special paid leave made before the government guidance was issued.
  • There is no discretion to pay on a different basis

(NB In accordance with government guidance, the University will claim 80% (subject to review in January 2021)of the average of the same month's earnings from the previous year or the average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year, whichever is the higher. This will not affect what we pay our variable hours and casual staff.)

If variable hours and casual staff have been employed for less than twelve months, they will be paid an average of their monthly earnings from their start date until the date they are furloughed, unless there is a prior commitment (see above) that would result in them receiving higher pay.

Note that when calculating the pay entitlement for furloughed casual and variable hours staff, only pay received under these two employment types will be considered. Any earnings received under a previous fixed hours contract within the calculation period will not be included.

New: As Variable Hours staff are paid a month in arrears, will pay due in the final month of the furlough scheme be reclaimable?

Not under current HMRC rules. Under our current payment methodology of paying a month in arrears any Variable Hours payments due for the last month of any furlough scheme will be made in the following month. Therefore – under HMRC rules – the last month’s pay cannot be reclaimed as only claims made within the period of the scheme will be honoured.

New: We put some Variable Hours staff back onto a rota between the first period of furlough and the latest furlough, how do we calculate pay for the new furlough period.

The method of calculating pay remains the same – ie the higher of:

  • same month’s earnings from the previous year; or
  • average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year; or 
  • earnings they would have received under any prior commitment from the University e.g. an existing agreed rota, an agreement for special paid leave made before the government guidance was issued.

New: We have some VH staff who haven’t worked since March, can we furlough them under the new scheme?

In order to be eligible for the government reimbursement staff must have been paid in a pay run from 20 March to 30 October. Therefore, you can furlough them as long as:

  • you have furloughed these staff with pay during the period since 20 March, and  

  • you would have offered them work from November, except for the lockdown, and

  • you believe they would have accepted that work   

If they have been offered work between the lockdowns but not accepted it for some reason relating to a disability, illness with covid or caring responsibilities, please contact your HRBP for advice.

How do I ensure that furloughed casual workers and variable hours employees receive the correct pay?

All pay calculations for casual workers and variable hours employees will be undertaken centrally using a combination of pay history data and supplementary information provided by departments. 

Departments must undertake the following steps:

  1. Update the worker/employee’s appointment in CoreHR to show furlough start and end date (where this is known for certain) following the guidance provided.
  1. Complete the Furlough Payment Spreadsheet  with details of all furloughed casuals and variable hours staff that need paying. Full guidance is provided in Tab 2 of the spreadsheet.
  1. Email the completed spreadsheet to: tax@admin.ox.ac.uk. The spreadsheet should be password protected in accordance with the arrangements for the regular casual payment submission. The deadline for submission will be communicated to departments via the weekly cascades.

These steps will be undertaken by the local HR contact, not by line managers.

When is someone eligible to be part-time furloughed?

You can place anyone on part-time furlough if they are a  fixed-hours member of staff who was employed before 30 October. The criteria remain the same: the person must not be able to do the same amount of work as usual because of the amount of work available, an inability to do the work from home or onsite, or because of their caring responsibilities. The minimum period of furlough is 7 consecutive calendar days.

To ensure the scheme administration remains manageable, no variable hours staff will be part-time furloughed.

How do I place someone on part-time furlough?

First, discuss your plans with them. If you are asking someone to work outside their normal working hours, you will need their agreement, but you can ask them to work in a different place or to carry out different duties (suitable for their grade) as a temporary measure. Some people may be unable to return to work part-time, even if the work is there, because of their caring responsibilities. They should then remain on furlough.

After your discussion, set out your plans to the staff member in writing, giving them reasonable notice, and ask them to return a signed copy of the letter agreeing that they will carry out no work for the University or an associated employer during the days / hours they are on furlough. A template letter can be downloaded from the Resources tab.

How much notice do I need to give of the new arrangements?

You should give at least 24 hours notice, but ideally longer, and you must make sure the person has reasonable time to make any necessary arrangements in respect of their caring responsibilities.

What are the minimum hours that someone can return to work?

To ensure the scheme administration – and particularly the claim for reimbursement from HMRC – remains manageable, we will not ask staff to return to work part-time to work less than 40% of their contracted working hours. That equates to 2 days per week for full-time staff and will be less, pro rata, for part-time staff.

Wherever possible, departments are asked to avoid changing the number of hours that a staff member works more than once in any one pay period.

If someone has two contracts with the University, can they now be furloughed from one and not the other?

Yes.

FAQs FOR EMPLOYEES AND WORKERS WHO ARE FURLOUGHED

Expand All

If you have a work email account, you should add an out-of-office reply stating that you are currently on leave. Provide an alternative contact for any urgent queries.

Whilst you should not do any work through a work email account, the University and your department may send updates about the COVID-19 situation, social events, furlough leave or your return to work using this email address, so please monitor the email daily for this type of correspondence. If you would prefer to receive such correspondence via a personal email address, please let your manager know, and this can be arranged.  You must not read or respond to any other work-related emails during the period of furlough.

Yes, and this is encouraged by the University provided it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the University or a linked or associated organisation.

If you are performing emergency volunteer work in health or social care through the national NHS programme and are given a notice of a volunteering period of 2-4 weeks, please notify your manager, so that they can plan for you to continue this volunteering even if the furlough period is otherwise ended.

Other options for volunteering are available through Oxford Together or a range of local and national charities.

Yes, and we would encourage colleagues to stay in contact, but this should be social contact only: you must not perform any substantive work. You can still use the University’s MS Teams to do this and it might mean that your normal team schedules (or continues) a regular MS Teams social catch up ‘meeting’ to keep in touch with the whole team, or your manager schedules in a regular time in the week to make contact with you. You should only use this for a social catch up.

Yes, you are encouraged to carry out any relevant online training whilst you are on furlough leave, provided that the training is directly relevant to your employment.

Access to a wide range of online training sessions is available from Molly and there may be further resources available within your Department.  You might also want to explore the resources the University has put together for staff during the pandemic.

 

Will annual continue to accrue during the period of furlough?  I have booked annual leave coming up, is that cancelled during furlough? Do I need to book annual leave if I need the time off?

Annual leave will continue to accrue during the furlough period and the University’s annual leave carry over rules apply, whether or not you are on furlough.  If you have commitments that would mean that you would be you unavailable for work with 24 hours notice during the period of furlough, you should book that period as leave. This will not ‘break’ the period of furlough.  For example, if you are going on vacation, or during school holidays if you have childcare responsibilities that mean that you could not return to work with 24 hours notice, if required to do so, you should book that period as leave.

 

If you are furloughed whilst on the full pay portion of your leave you will continue to receive the existing rate of pay under the University’s family leave policies, if you are eligible.  If you continue your leave into a period of statutory pay or unpaid leave your furlough will end.

When your period of family leave ends, if appropriate you may be furloughed again and at that point you will revert to your normal pay but you will remain on furlough and not performing any work until the period of furlough is ended.

Employees can request to end maternity, adoption or shared parental leave early in the normal way (with 8 weeks’ notice normally required), but employees should not request to end their family leave (ie to return to work) unless they are ready to return to work at any time, as the furlough period could be ended at short notice.

If you have been employed for 12 months or more, you will be paid the highest of the following three calculations:

  • same month’s earnings from the previous year; or
  • average monthly earnings for the 2019-2020 tax year; or 
  • earnings they would have received under any prior commitment, e.g. existing rota, agreement for special paid leave made before the government guidance was issued, or other exceptional reason.

If you have been employed for less than 12 months, you will be paid your average monthly earnings since you started work for the University until the date you are furloughed.

Note that your pay calculation will be based on pay received under your variable hours contract (and any casual work where applicable). Any earnings received under a previous fixed hours contract within the calculation period will not be included.

Workers who are engaged with flexible hours, and who are only entitled to receive pay for hours they are assigned and work, have been offered continuing normal pay on a discretionary basis using the same calculation as for variable hours employees (see FAQ above) through to the end of their assignment. This same calculation will continue during furlough leave, but will still end at the end date of your assignment.

Unless your contract is renewed or you are redeployed, your employment will still end on the end date of your fixed-term contract. The University is working with grant funding bodies to agree the circumstances in which any funding that is recouped through the furlough scheme might be used to fund short contract extensions in some cases. This is dependent upon a range of factors including the availability of work, and the possibility of extending research projects and would be discussed with you as part of the end of fixed-term contract process.

Read more about the University’s efforts to support fixed term contract staff, including by negotiating with grant funding bodies on the Research Services website.

The University has committed to paying all furloughed staff at 100% of their usual rate of pay.  Also, the CJRS funds are capped at £2,500 per month and do not cover employer NI or pension costs so in most circumstances the costs of furloughing an employee are significant, despite the government funding.  The level of reimbursement from January 2021 is not yet known.

Download a Word version of the FAQs for those who are furloughed 

 

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