Guidance

Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Find out which employees you can put on furlough and claim for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until 31 March 2021.

30 November 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

Claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by 14 December 2020.

To use the scheme, the steps you’ll need to take are:

  1. Check if you can claim.

  2. Check which employees you can put on furlough.

  3. Steps to take before calculating your claim.

  4. Calculate how much you should claim.

  5. Claim for your employees’ wages online – the service should be simple to use and any support you need available on GOV.UK.

  6. Report a payment in PAYE Real Time Information.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until 31 March 2021. From 1 November 2020 you can claim 80% of an employee’s usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. For periods from 1 November onwards, you can claim for employees who were employed on 30 October 2020, as long as you have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee. The government will review the scheme in January 2021.

All employers with a UK bank account and UK Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme can claim the grant. You do not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 30 October 2020 to claim for periods from 1 November 2020.

You can claim for employees on any type of employment contract, including full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts. Foreign nationals are eligible to be furloughed. Grants under the scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’, and you can furlough employees on all categories of visa.

There are rules about what your employees can do whilst on furlough.

Check how different employment conditions affect eligibility

The groups of employees that are eligible for the scheme are mentioned in this section.

If you are claiming for a period that ends on or before 31 October 2020 you will need to have submitted a claim for the employee you are claiming for in relation to a furlough period of at least three consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and submitted a claim for this period by 31 July 2020.

If your employee is on a fixed term contract

For claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020, you’ll be able to claim for employees on fixed term contracts and the normal eligibility rules apply.

For claim periods after 1 November 2020, if the employee’s fixed term contract has not already expired, it can be extended or renewed. You can put the employee on furlough as long as they were employed by you on or before 30 October 2020. You must have made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

If your employee’s fixed term contract expired on or after 23 September, they can be re-employed and claimed for. This applies as long as your employee was employed by you on 23 September and you made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

If you employ apprentices

Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whilst on furlough.

However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage/National Living Wage/National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means that for time spent training you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.

Guidance is available for changes in apprenticeship learning arrangements because of coronavirus (COVID-19) in:

If your employee is a supply teacher

Supply teachers are eligible for the scheme in the same way as other employees and can continue to be claimed for during school holiday periods provided that the usual eligibility criteria are met.

If you’ve consolidated your payroll and have new employees on it

Where a group of companies have multiple PAYE schemes and there is a transfer of all employees from these schemes into a new consolidated PAYE scheme, the new scheme will be eligible to continue to furlough and claim for employees.

For claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020, the maximum number of employees that an employer can claim for under the consolidated scheme will be the total of the maximum numbers of employees under a single claim in each scheme that is being consolidated.

Employee transfers under TUPE and on a change in ownership

For claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020, a new employer is eligible to claim in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred as long as:

  • the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership
  • the employees being claimed for have previously had a claim submitted for them by their prior employer, the normal eligibility rules apply

In these circumstances, the maximum number of employees that the new employer can claim for will be the total of both:

  • the maximum number of employees the new employer claimed for in any one claim ending on or before 30 June
  • the number of employees that are being transferred to the new employer which have had a claim submitted for them in relation to a furlough period of at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, this is subject the maximum cap the previous employer was subject to.

For claim periods after 1 November 2020, a new employer is eligible to claim in respect of the employees of a previous business transferred if the TUPE or PAYE business succession rules apply to the change in ownership.

The employees being claimed for should have been:

  • transferred from their old employer to their new employer on or after 1 September 2020
  • employed by either their old employer or new employer on 30 October 2020
  • on a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC, by their old or new employer between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee

Read more guidance on TUPE rules.

Read more guidance on business succession.

If your employee has more than one job or other duties

If your employee has more than one job

If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and for claims for periods on or before 31 October 2020 - the cap applies to each employer individually.

Employees can be furloughed in one job and receive a furloughed payment but continue working for another employer and receive their normal wages.

If your employee had multiple employers over the last year

If an employee has had multiple employers over the past year, has only worked for one of them at any one time, and is being furloughed by their current employer, their former employer/s should not re-employ them, put them on furlough and claim for their wages through the scheme.

If your employee does volunteer work

A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough as long as it is for another employer or organisation.

If your employee does training

Furloughed employees can engage in training during hours which you record your employee as being in furlough, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training.

Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees during hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of an employee’s regular wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours. However, where the time spent training attracts a minimum wage entitlement in excess of the furlough payment, employers will need to pay the additional wages (see National Minimum Wage Section for more details).

Furloughed employees working as union or non-union representatives or as pension trustees

During hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, employees who are union or non-union representatives may undertake duties and activities for the purpose of individual or collective representation of employees or other workers. However in doing this, they must not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of your organisation or a linked or associated organisation.

During hours which you record your employee as being on furlough, employees who are pension scheme trustees or trustee directors of a corporate trustee may undertake trustee duties in relation to the pension scheme. However, a professional, independent pension scheme trustee who has been furloughed by the independent trustee company cannot undertake trustee work that would provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, the independent trustee company or any organisation linked or associated with that independent trustee company during hours which you record them as being on furlough.

If you’ve made your employees redundant

Where you must make redundancies, you should do so in accordance with the normal rules. This includes giving a notice period and consulting staff before a final decision is reached. For claim periods relating to November, you can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period, however grants cannot be used to substitute redundancy payments.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020, you cannot claim for any days on or after 1 December 2020 during which the furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period for the employer (this includes people serving notice of retirement or resignation). If an employee subsequently starts a contractual or statutory notice period on a day covered by a previously submitted claim, you will need to make an adjustment.

If you make an employee redundant, you should base statutory redundancy and statutory notice pay on their normal wage rather than the reduced furlough wage.

For claim periods after 1 November 2020

If you made employees redundant, or they stopped working for you on or after 23 September 2020 you can re-employ them and put them on furlough. This applies as long as the employee was employed by you on September 23 and you made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

If your employee’s health has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other conditions

If your employee is:

  • unable to work because they are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance

  • unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), including employees that need to look after children

They are eligible for the grant and can be furloughed.

For claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020

You need to have submitted a claim for the relevant employee in relation to a furlough period of at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 and submitted a claim for this period by 31 July 2020.

If your employee is self-isolating or on sick leave

If your employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of coronavirus, they may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness.

Short term illness/self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

Employers can furlough employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable, at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus or off on long-term sick leave. It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees.

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time. When an employee is on furlough, you can only reclaim expenditure through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and not the SSP rebate scheme. If a non-furloughed employee becomes ill due to coronavirus, needs to self-isolate or shield, then you might qualify for the SSP rebate scheme, where you can claim up to two weeks of SSP per employee.

If your employee becomes sick while furloughed

Furloughed employees retain their statutory rights, including their right to SSP. This means that furloughed employees who become ill, due to Coronavirus or any other cause, must be paid at least SSP. Subject to eligibility this includes those self-isolating or clinically extremely because of Coronavirus. It is up to employers to decide whether to move these employees onto SSP or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.

If a furloughed employee who becomes sick is moved onto SSP, employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary. Employers are required to pay SSP themselves, although may qualify for a rebate for up to two weeks of SSP if the sickness is related to coronavirus.

If employers keep the sick furloughed employee on the furloughed rate for the period that they are sick, they remain eligible to claim for these costs through the furloughed scheme.

If your employee is on or has recently returned from leave

If your employee is on or has just returned from statutory parental leave

The normal rules for maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave and pay apply.

You may need to calculate your employee’s average weekly earnings differently, if your employee was furloughed and then started claiming statutory parental pay on or after 25 April 2020 for:

You can claim through the scheme for enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay for employees who qualify for either:

  • maternity pay
  • adoption pay
  • paternity pay
  • shared parental pay
  • parental bereavement pay

For claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020, you can furlough an employee returning from statutory parental leave after 10 June 2020 even if you are furloughing them for the first time. You may do this provided that:

  • you have previously submitted a claim for any other employee in your organisation in relation to a furlough period of at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020
  • the employee you wish to furlough for the first time started maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity and parental bereavement leave before 10 June 2020 and has returned from that leave after 10 June 2020
  • the employee was on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020. This means an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee to HMRC must have been made on or before 19 March 2020

When calculating the maximum number of employees you can claim for, the number of employees you are furloughing for the first time due to them returning from statutory parental leave after 10 June 2020 should be added to your previous maximum. This means you should add any employees that you are furloughing for the first time due to them returning from statutory leave onto your previous maximum.

Information is also available on what you can claim if your employee is still on maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave or parental bereavement leave.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 November 2020

If your employee returns from maternity, shared parental, adoption, paternity or parental bereavement leave and you are claiming in respect of a period that starts on or after 1 November, the normal scheme rules apply.

Ending maternity leave early to be furloughed

If your employee decides to end their maternity leave early to enable them to be furloughed (with your agreement), they will need to give you at least 8 weeks’ notice of their return to work, but you can agree to shorter notice in certain circumstances. You will not be able to furlough them until the end of the 8 weeks, or the date that you have agreed they can return to work.

If your employee gets Maternity Allowance

If your employee is getting Maternity Allowance while they’re on maternity leave, they should not get furlough pay at the same time.

If your employee has agreed to be put on furlough, tell them to contact Jobcentre Plus to stop their Maternity Allowance payments.

If your employee is a military reservist returning to work after 10 June 2020

For claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020, you can furlough an employee who is a military reservist returning to work after a period of mobilisation that ends after 10 June 2020, even if you are furloughing them for the first time.

You may do so as long as:

  • you have already claimed for another employee in your organisation for a furlough period of at least three consecutive weeks, between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020
  • the employee was away on a period of mobilisation that started before 10 June 2020 and returned from that mobilisation after 10 June 2020
  • the employee was on your PAYE payroll and you submitted an RTI submission notifying payment of earnings for them on or before 19 March 2020

Where the employee starts a furlough period before 1 July 2020 this furlough period must be for a minimum of three consecutive weeks. This is the case regardless of whether the three consecutive week minimum period ends before or after 1 July 2020.

When calculating the maximum number of employees you can claim for, the number of employees you are furloughing for the first time due to them returning from a period of mobilisation after 10 June 2020 should be added to any previous maximum. This means that you should add any employees that you are furloughing for the first time due to them returning from a period of mobilisation onto your previous maximum.

Other types of employees you can claim for

You can claim a grant for other types of employees as long as they’re paid via PAYE.

You can claim for:

  • office holders (including company directors)
  • salaried member of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)
  • agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies)
  • limb (b) workers
  • contingent workers in the public sector
  • contractors with public sector engagements in scope of IR35 off-payroll working rules (IR35)

After you’ve checked which employees you can claim for

Once you know whether you can put your employees on furlough and claim through the scheme, you should agree this with them before you start your claim.

Published 14 May 2020
Last updated 19 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Information about if your employee becomes sick while furloughed has been amended to remove outdated information.

  2. Changed language to make it clear that for claim periods starting on or after 1 December 2020 you cannot claim for any days on or after 1 December 2020 during which the furloughed employee was serving a contractual or statutory notice period. Also, minor corrections to section on maternity allowance have been made.

  3. Eligibility criteria has been made clearer for employees who are made redundant on or after 23 September 2020 and you have re-employed and employees that have a fixed term contract that expired after 23 September. The dates relating to TUPE eligibility have also been corrected.

  4. The scheme has been extended. This guidance has been updated with details of how to claim for periods after 1 November 2020. 30 November 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

  5. Added translation.

  6. Information call out updated to state that the scheme is being extended until 31 March 2021.

  7. Information call out has been updated to confirm that the guidance on this page reflects the rules for the period until 31 October 2020. This page will be updated to include the rules relating to the scheme extension shortly.

  8. Added translation.

  9. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is being extended until December 2020.

  10. Information call out has been updated - the scheme is now closed. 30 November 2020 is the last date you can submit claims.

  11. The information call out at the top of the page has been updated with the changes to the scheme. 30 November 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before 30 October 2020.

  12. The information call out at the top of the page has been updated with the changes to the scheme from 1 September.

  13. A Welsh translation has been added.

  14. A link to a previous version of this guide has been added to the information box at the top of the page.

  15. Page updated to say that supply teachers are eligible for the scheme in the same way as other employees and can continue to be claimed for during school holiday periods. Page updated to say that if a furloughed employee is made redundant they're entitled to receive redundancy pay based on their normal wage and not on the reduced furlough rate.

  16. The information call out has been updated to tell employers about changes to the scheme from 1 August 2020. Out of date eligibility criteria removed about RTI submissions before 19 March, contracts expiring before 19 March 2020, consolidating PAYE schemes after 28 Feb, TUPE transfers after 28 Feb. Sections ‘If your employee is working reduced hours’, ‘If you made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 28 Feb 2020’, ‘If you made employees redundant or they stopped working for you on or after 19 March 2020’ removed. Section ‘If your employee is shielding’ and ‘If your employee has caring responsibilities’.

  17. Page updated to clarify that notice periods being served by furloughed employees include contractual notice periods.

  18. Adjusted text to add clarity to 'Paying employee taxes and pension contributions' section and added wording to section on employee rights to make it clear that you can continue to claim for a furloughed employee who is serving a statutory notice period.

  19. Page updated with eligibility information for claims before 1 July.

  20. Added information about exceptions for military reservists.

  21. Added Welsh translation.

  22. Page updated with information about how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.

  23. Information in box at the top of the page updated with how the scheme is changing.

  24. Page updated with information about how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing, what pension trustees may do whilst on furlough and the eligibility of TUPE.

  25. Added Welsh translation.

  26. Page updated with information that clarifies that eligibility depends on employment on or after certain dates.

  27. First published.