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Employers Can Put Self-Isolating Staff On Furlough (21 June 2021)

This article claims that Employers can claim from the furlough scheme for staff who are self-isolating.

It reports that Treasury officials have said that the Guidance is ‘clear’ that employers can choose to put staff on sick pay or furlough self-isolating employees. Despite that claim by Treasury officials, employment lawyers agree that the guidance is not, and has not been, clear on this point.

Having said that, separate Guidance If you need to self-isolate or cannot attend work due to coronavirus, which is aimed at employees, does suggest that employees can be furloughed. It states:

‘If you’re on sick leave or self-isolating because of coronavirus, you may want to speak to your employer about whether you are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough). You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) while you are on sick leave or self-isolating. If you are put on furlough while on sick leave or self-isolating, you will no longer get sick pay but should be treated as any other furloughed employee.’

Therefore, it does appear that HMRC will allow employees to be furloughed when they are self-isolating. Since December 2020, the names of employers who make furlough claims and amount of their claim have been publicised. This may discourage some employers from using the furlough Scheme for self-isolating employees.

The Furlough Guides were updated on 17 June 2021 to confirm the usual final dates for May claims and changes to the Scheme taking place in July. These changes are:

From 1 July 2021, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough.

Employers will top up employees’ wages to make sure they receive 80% of wages (up to £2,500) in total for the hours the employee is on furlough. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked.