To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether employers can furlough employees who are (a) shielding, (b) vulnerable, (c) pregnant and (d) unable to work as a result of caring responsibilities resulting from covid-19.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open to all employees providing that they were on their employer’s PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020 and that HMRC received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of that employee on or before 19 March 2020. Employees should speak to their employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough.
If a firm chooses not to furlough staff who are shielding, these staff are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay as a statutory minimum, although many employers will pay more than that in occupational sick pay. 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 for 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 through Universal Credit (UC).