Foxed by furlough? Here are this week’s furlough FAQs from Beswicks Legal

Can you claim furlough pay for someone who is off sick?

No, not unless they were genuinely furloughed for business reasons despite the illness. If an employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of Coronavirus, they may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay but the furlough scheme is not there to cover short-term absences from work due to sickness.

If an employee becomes sick while furloughed, their furlough period can continue with no obligation to move the employee onto statutory sick pay

Can you furlough someone who is on annual leave?

People on furlough can take annual leave but you cannot furlough someone just because they are taking annual leave.

For example, if an employee wants three days off next month, you cannot furlough them for those days in order to claim the money back.

Do clinically extremely vulnerable employees have to be furloughed?

Clinical extremely vulnerable employees are eligible for the grant, but you are under no obligation to furlough them if they are able to work safely, for example from home.

If they are unable to do their job from home or continuing to work would expose them to risk, furlough is the best option.

What about employees with childcare or other caring responsibilities?

Again, they are eligible to be furloughed, but you do not have to automatically furlough them. It is acceptable for a business to need to take priority. For more details, read our blog on this topic.

Can an employee on maternity leave be furloughed?

The employee would first need to formally end their maternity leave, giving at least eight weeks’ notice of their return to work. You will not be able to furlough them until the end of the eight weeks.

If your employee is receiving maternity allowance while they are on maternity leave, they cannot receive furlough pay at the same time.

Can an employee be asked to undertake training while on furlough?

Yes, furloughed employees can carry out training, as long as they are not providing services or generating revenue. In fact, training is encouraged.

Employees who undertake training at their employer’s request are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage for the time spent training. In most cases, furlough would meet this threshold, but if it were to fall short, employers would need to pay the additional wages.

Can a furloughed employee do voluntary work?

Yes, if you are on furlough, you can take part in voluntary work as long as it is for another employer or organisation.


If our furlough FAQs have given you food for thought and you’d like instant answers to your questions, check out our Beswicks HR service, which provides access to an employment solicitor whenever you need them for a low monthly fee.