Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Treasury written question – answered on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Burt of Solihull Baroness Burt of Solihull Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether employees who cannot practically work because they are shielding themselves in line with the current public health guidance, or because of childcare commitments, can be furloughed. [T]

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton Minister of State (HM Treasury), Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

To be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employees must have been on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and HMRC must have received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020. Employees who cannot work due to shielding or because of childcare commitments should speak to their employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough. The grant will start on the day they were placed on furlough, and this can be backdated to 1 March 2020.

The Government recognises it is a challenge for parents to balance paid work and childcare while schools and nurseries are closed. Schools remain open for children of critical workers and the most vulnerable children, and the Government has put in place a national voucher scheme to provide free school meals for children while at home. Families who see a fall in earnings may become eligible for support through the welfare system, in particular Universal Credit (UC).

For shielding employees, if a firm chooses not to furlough shielding staff, they are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay as a statutory minimum, although many employers will pay more than that in occupational sick pay.

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