Rotating Furlough & Sick Leave

Can you rotate furlough leave, what about employees on sick leave and apprentices and the NMW?


Is it possible to rotate furlough leave so employees are furloughed at different times?

Yes. Employees can be furloughed multiple times, which means that they can be furloughed, brought back to work, then re-furloughed, provided each furlough period is of at least three weeks’ duration.

Can an employee be furloughed if they are on sick leave?

No, employees on sick leave or self-isolating are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (and, if applicable, contractual sick pay). When they are on sick leave or are self-isolating, employees should not be treated as furloughed under the scheme but they may then be furloughed afterwards.

However, employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance (because they have a specific health condition which makes them very vulnerable to COVID-19) can be placed on furlough.

Can apprentices be furloughed?

Yes, and the apprentice can continue to train while furloughed.

Can employers pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages if this is below the rate of the National Minimum Wage (NMW)?

Under the CJRS, employees must be paid the lower of 80% of their monthly earnings or £2,500, even if this brings the employee's average hourly payment below the NMW rate. This is because the NMW only applies to hours worked and employees will not work any hours while on furlough leave. 

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