With increasingly restrictive social distancing guidance causing  decreases in revenue, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is the Government’s bold response to counteract the risk of large job losses.

 This unprecedented rescue package allows employers to ‘furlough’ their staff who have no work to do and claim back 80%of their basic pay up to a maximum of £2,500 per month per employee (plus employer costs including NICs and some pension contributions). Understandably, the Government was keen to keep the scheme simple. However initial scheme guidance left many questions unanswered. This weekend saw the Government issue significantly revised guidance on the scheme.  

We now know that employees who cannot work because of school closures can be furloughed. We know that employees can ‘roll on’ and ‘roll off’ furlough. We also know that furloughed employees can take up work for a new employer if their contract allows it. (For more on the updated guidance see our briefing.) 

 But not all is crystal clear – the most major question as yet unanswered, concerns holiday – can furloughed employees take holiday and if so at what rate should it be paid? Twitter is alight with commentary on what, for employers, is a critical issue. Common (but not universal) consensus is that holiday can be taken whilst an employee is furloughed but it needs to be paid at 100% of pay – whether the Government will confirm the position remains to be seen.