What can and can’t your employees do whilst furloughed?
At the time of writing, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends on the 30th of April 2021 to help businesses and employees throughout the colder, winter months. However, it is very likely that the closing date will be extended in the upcoming months.
It is clearly stated and known that to be claimed under the scheme, the employee cannot partake in any work for the employer’s organisation or any organisation that is related to the employer’s organisation. Nevertheless, there are many questions that employers ask about relating to what the employee can and cannot do whilst on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, so we decided to do some research and answer some of the commonly asked questions in this article.
What an employee can do whilst furloughed.
Work for different employer.
Yes, an employee can undertake work for another employer if they have not been furloughed for that specific job. This includes the employee starting a new job and a current job even if they have been furloughed by your company and vice versa.
Work if you urgently need something to be completed.
You can ask an employee that is on furlough to carry out certain work if there is nobody else working in the business that can do it. However, you will have to either take the employee off furlough or putting them on a flexible furlough scheme where you can pay them a full wage for the certain number of days/hours that they are working for.
Complete study and training courses.
Yes, an employee can complete training courses whilst on furlough if it is done to either improve the employee’s skills or to maintain their abilities. The training courses must not generate any revenue for your business or contribute to any of the business’s activities. If you have tasked your employee with some training, they must be paid the national minimum wage for the time spent doing the course.
Participate in voluntary work.
A furloughed employee can take on voluntary work as long as it does not provide services or make money for the employer that placed the employee on the CJRS. The employee can still partake in voluntary work that you have set up, just if the work does not promote your business.
Be contacted by the employer.
You can still stay in contact with their staff whilst on the CJR Scheme if you are not talking about anything that is considered work. General conversations, making sure your employees are healthy, answering any questions, and informing the employee about any changes within the business.
What an employee cannot do whilst furloughed.
Attend work meetings.
You employees cannot attend any work meeting whilst on the CJR scheme as it counts to proving services to your company even if the employee is just listening to people talk. If you need to inform your employees anything that is urgent and important relating to their job, you should either give them a personal call or send them a short email to their personal email account.
Check work emails.
No, your employees should not check any work emails whilst on furlough because it considered providing services for your company, even if they only reply to a single email. We suggest that you cancel your employees’ access to their work emails whilst they are furloughed to avoid any problems.
Participate in promotional activity.
No, your employees cannot engage in any promotion activity whilst on furlough as this would arguably amount to earning revenue for your company and building your company’s brand. Even if this promotional activity is on social media, your employees should not check the account to monitor how the promotion is doing.
Work without employer asking.
Your employee cannot continue to work whilst on furlough without you asking them to as this is providing services for your company and therefore it goes against the rules of the scheme. You should remove your employees access to their emails and any work-related accounts during the time that they are furloughed.
It is very important that you know what your employees can and cannot do whilst they are on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The rules regarding the furlough scheme are quite confusing and the penalties that can be given out are very damaging for you, both financially and reputationally. You should send your employees this blog so they can also understand what they should and shouldn’t’ t be doing whilst furloughed.