All firms affected by coronavirus are encouraged to treat their employees fairly. The scheme is already helping firms to keep millions of people in employment by covering the majority of employers’ wage costs. Firms should receive their grant within six working days of submitting claims. While there is no obligation for employers to take up the scheme, the scheme is open to all UK employers provided they have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme; enrolled for PAYE online; have a UK bank account; and that HMRC have received an RTI submission notifying payment in respect of the employee on or before 19 March 2020: www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.
If someone is shielding in line with public health guidance or required to stay home due to an individual in their household shielding and is unable to work from home, then the employee should speak to their employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough.
If a firm chooses not to furlough these staff, the staff are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay as a statutory minimum, although many employers will pay more than that in occupational sick pay.