This Episode: Furloughing Facts & Fiction – Understanding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme with Tom Blake

In this special HR Uprising Podcast episode, Lucinda talks to HR Expert Tom Blake about the details of the recently announced Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. They also discuss the facts and fiction surrounding furloughing, along with the right up to date clarifications from HMRC.

Certainly, we hope to clear up any confusion around this specialist topic on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme! With guidance on current clarifications, and highlighting the need for documentation, you should have the tools you need to get to grips with furloughing.

Please note that this show was recorded on the 30th March 2020. Therefore, please refer to the most up to date HMRC guidance for any changes or further clarifications.

Valuable Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Furloughing is a status that can be applied to employees instead of making them redundant.
  • The Furloughing programme is for zero work, it does not cover reduced working hours.
  • This is a grant which will be available to be repaid at the end of April.
  • The employer continues to pay 80% of the salary which is capped at £2500. This money is subject to tax and National Insurance.
  • You can be furloughed if you have no work, not because you have childcare duties.
  • If you are self-isolating out of choice and there is work still available to you then you cannot be furloughed. Instead, you may receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
  • There is still a need for clarification as to whether individuals who have been identified by the NHS as at risk and are therefore required to ‘shield’ but cannot get to work can be furloughed. At the time of this recording, it is unclear as to whether this should be SSP or eligible for furlough.
  • Above all, document any decision you are making and date it along with your interpretation of the rules that are in place at that time. Therefore, you have a pack of information that can be referred back to if HMRC query it in 12-18 months’ time.

Best Moments

  • ‘Martin Lewis is a personal finance expert and I believe that is where his expertise should stay, he is not an employment expert.’
  • ‘This doesn’t trump Employment Law’
  • ‘I’m not normally this nice to HMRC but I think we have to give credit where credit is due’
  • In my experience, HMRC has accepted the position I have taken as an employer 9/10 times if I have documented and dated the decisions I am making at that time.

About The Guest

Tom Blake is a Global HR Director and Executive Coach. With an extensive background in complex multinational organisations, he certainly understands the pressures that businesses face in an ever-changing and complex world. Therefore, one of his key focuses is on helping organisations understand how to interpret complex employment legislation. He also enables organisations to develop through delivering executive leadership development. Currently, his focus is on helping businesses implement the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

About The Host

Lucinda Carney is a Business Psychologist with 15 years in Senior Corporate L&D roles and a further 10 as CEO of Actus Software where she worked closely with HR colleagues helping them to solve the same challenges across a huge range of industries. It was this breadth of experience that inspired Lucinda to set up the HR Uprising community to facilitate greater collaboration across HR professionals in different sectors, helping them to ‘rise up’ together.

“When we look up we rise up”

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  • Brilliant podcast, thank you for publishing.

    We have a selection of employees who have not been working for a couple of weeks due to lack of work but still on the payroll and effectively just sat at home. We are planning to consult them ref furlough this week, so as an employer are we able to place them on furlough but claim the 80% back through the job retention scheme from the date they have not been working? I’m thinking it would be from the date we gain their agreement, and not able/eligible to backdate?

  • Thank you for such a fabulous and timely podcast. It’s so reassuring to know you’re not on your own sifting through the myriad of info coming from the Government currently. A heartfelt ‘thanks’.