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I’ve been furloughed – is my job safe?

  • Sharon McDougall -
  • 18th May 2020 -
  • 3 minutes to read

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was introduced to support employee wages, and prop up the economy as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic. If your employer is using the scheme you may have been furloughed, which means you’ve been placed on temporary leave.

The scheme, which initially runs for three months from 1st March 2020 but may be extended, enables your employer to claim 80% of your monthly wage up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Although the scheme has been fundamental in keeping businesses going your job isn’t necessarily safe when you’ve been furloughed, however, so what are the potential implications of this situation?

How does furloughing work?

The furlough scheme helps employers to avoid staff redundancies by supporting wage payments during the coronavirus pandemic. If you’ve been furloughed, it means you’re on temporary leave and cannot undertake any work on behalf of your employer. 

You must have been on the payroll on or before 19th March 2020, and your employer should have obtained your agreement to be furloughed. The scheme is intended to support businesses during this time of crisis, but uncertainty remains as to what might happen in the future given the widespread effect of the pandemic on the economy as a whole.

Is your job safe on the furlough scheme?

Unfortunately, the fact that you’ve been placed on furlough doesn’t automatically mean your job is safe – it just helps your employer’s business survive the extreme financial distress organisations of all sizes are dealing with.

The industry you work in can indicate to some extent whether your job might be safe after furlough – hospitality businesses have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, for example, and face considerable challenges in maintaining social distancing requirements if they are able to reopen.

But if your job isn’t safe and you’re at risk of redundancy, what entitlements could you claim in redundancy to provide a cash buffer whilst you seek different employment? The main payment is redundancy pay, but you may also be entitled to other payments such as arrears of wages and holiday pay.

Redundancy after being furloughed

If you’ve been furloughed but later lose your job, the redundancy pay you’re entitled to is based on three factors:

  • The time you’ve worked for your employer
  • Your age
  • Your weekly wage

You should be eligible for statutory redundancy pay if you’ve worked for your employer continuously for two years or more, as follows:

  • If you’re aged 18-22: half a week’s pay
  • If you’re aged 22-40: one week’s pay
  • If you’re aged 41 or above: one and a half week’s pay

If you would like more information on the implications of the furlough scheme and whether your job might be safe, as well as your eligibility for redundancy pay and other entitlements, please contact one of the team at Scotland Debt Solutions – we offer free same-day consultations in complete confidence.

Sharon McDougall
Sharon McDougall
Manager
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