COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme Questions & Answers

 

The purpose of this Q&A sheet is to try and provide as much clarity as we currently can as to what will happen now that you have been placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS), also known as furlough.

The Government has now given a lot of detail on the coronavirus job retention scheme, however, there are still some areas where government guidance is missing.

Unfortunately, we cannot answer all of your specific queries about furlough leave at this time so please use this Q&A sheet to answer your questions for now.

What is the Job Retention Scheme (JRS)?

In a nutshell, the Government has agreed to underwrite the main employment cost (your salary) now that we have asked you not to work. Furlough leave is an alternative to us implementing large scale redundancies which, given our income is now limited, we may have otherwise had to do.

What does ‘furlough’ mean?

It is a term used for describing the period of absence covered by the JRS – whilst you are not working, you are on ‘furlough’ until asked to return to work. Furlough is not redundancy.

Now that I have been put on the Job Retention Scheme, what will I be paid?

You will be paid 80% of your monthly wage up to a cap of £2,500.

Will my pay still be subject to Tax and National Insurance deductions?

Your salary will still be subject to the normal statutory deductions – tax and National Insurance, calculated after your salary reduction.

How long will the Job Retention Scheme be in place?

At the moment, we do not know. The Government scheme is in place for three months initially (until the end of May 2020), however the Chancellor did indicate that if it was deemed necessary, the JRS would be extended beyond this time.

What do I have to claim back from the Government?

In terms of JRS, nothing. We will do all of that for you. However, there may be other benefits or tax credits you may be able to take advantage. We are unable to advise on specifics here.

During my time away from the business, can I work elsewhere?

If you already have two jobs this should be fine, but we need more clarity as to whether you can start on a new second job whilst on away from the office on the Job Retention Scheme. For now, you must get our consent to start an additional job first as you will still need to be available to work for Pearl Windows as soon as you are required again at work. Starting a second job may also affect any Job Retention Scheme payments Pearl Windows can claim from the Government, so for the moment you must check with us first.

If you do undertake additional work without our permission and we are subsequently unable to claim or have to repay any of your JRS funding you may have to pay us back, or we may deduct this amount from your next salary payment.

Whilst I am on the Job Retention Scheme, can I do any work for Pearl Windows?

No, you should not do any work for Pearl Windows.

Whilst I am away from work on the Job Retention Scheme, can I volunteer?

Yes, you can take part in volunteer work while you are on the Job Retention Scheme. However, those requesting to go on the new Emergency Volunteering Leave will not be entitled to receive the pay they would have received had they been on furlough leave.

If I am in the pension scheme will these deductions and contributions carry on?

Yes, if you qualify for the pension scheme then employer contributions will continue to be paid and your employee contribution will continue to be deducted as normal. However, if you want to temporarily opt-out of the pension scheme whilst you are furloughed then please contact Steve French by email SteFrench@pearlwindows.co.uk

What happens to my continuous service?

Your employment will not have ended (it is not redundancy) while on the Job Retention Scheme, so your service remains continuous. You will not have to re-apply for your job at the end of the JRS.

Whilst I am away from work on the Job Retention Scheme how will I know when to return to work?

We will be in contact with you by text and or email, we will try to give a few days warning, however, it could be expected for you to return the next working day.

What happens if I have pre-booked annual leave while I am away from work on the Job Retention Scheme?

If you have already booked annual leave for any time that you are furloughed then you will still be required to take this time as holiday.

It may be that we will also require you to take some of the time whilst you are furloughed as holiday. If this is the case then we will give you sufficient notice. We are awaiting further guidance from the government about this and what your pay will be during any time that you take holiday whilst you are furloughed.

You will still accrue holiday entitlement during the time you are on the Job Retention Scheme.

What if I have been put on the Job Retention Scheme and I’m in a high-risk category and have been told by the NHS to self-isolate for 12 weeks?

Please let Steve French know by email SteFrench@pearlwindows.co.uk, this is to ensure we don’t contact you to bring you back into work sooner than we should.