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 19 March 2020 and included in the University’s RTI file transfer to HMRC on 21 February 2020. This is because the HMRC guidance states that:
- You can only claim for furloughed employees that were on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.
- An RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020.
The University’s most recent RTI submission before 19 March 2020 was on 21 February 2020. Therefore, anyone who was not included in that submission cannot be furloughed.
No one who joined the PAYE payroll in late February or March 2020 will have been included in this submission. Therefore, they cannot be furloughed. If you propose to furlough someone who joined the University in February, and before 21 February, please check with payroll whether they were included in the RTI submission.
Are variable hours employees eligible to be put on furlough?
Yes. Please refer to ‘Paying variable hours employees and casual workers on furlough’ below.
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 cannot extend the fixed-term contracts and 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 (ie the employee is in their 3-month notice period) 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;
- 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;
- For externally funded fixed-term employees departments have obtained confirmation from the funder that:
- The funder is content that staff on the award may be furloughed;
- The funder will allow that part of the salary costs not covered by the CJRS (namely 20% of the salary costs and any amount of the salary cost over £2,500pm) to be charged as an eligible cost to the award; and
- 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 for the initial period of the CJRS/furlough scheme which run until 30 June. It is not consistent with the University’s equal pay principles to pay staff differently and so staff furloughed through the initial period of the scheme must be paid at 100% of their normal 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’?
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 ‘shield’ and who cannot be redeployed to work that they can carry out from home, should be furloughed.
Are those who entered the University’s employment as a result of a TUPE transfer eligible for furlough? What if they joined recently?
Employees who transferred to the University’s employment under TUPE can be furloughed, even if the transfer occurred after 19 March 2020 (i.e. even if the employees were not on the University’s payroll on or before that date).
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 21 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 be furloughed while on sick leave?
The University will not seek to place on furlough a member of staff who is already on sick leave. When someone returns from sick leave, they can be furloughed if they meet the criteria.
Can someone be furloughed for part of their role?
No. An individual can only be furloughed if they are not carrying out any work for the University. Even if they can only work for a proportion of their time, or only undertake some of their duties remotely, if they are conducting work, they cannot be furloughed.
Can someone be furloughed if they have occasional work to do?
Yes, as long as they will have a period of 21 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.
How do we handle someone with more than one role for the University?
A member of staff cannot be furloughed if they will conduct any work for the University or a linked or associated employer, even if this is under a separate contract of employment. Therefore, a member of staff with two contracts can only be furloughed if they will not conduct any work under either contract ie they will be furloughed from both. The costs that can be re-couped are limited to £2,500 for the employee (ie not £2,500 per role).
If you are unsure whether a member of staff has another role with the University, please ask them, and liaise with the other department to ensure that the employee is furloughed from both/all contracts or none. The primary employing department (ie the one where the employee works most hours) will be prioritised in receiving the recouped costs.
Can I furlough someone who is working their notice?