Further guidance has been published by the Government to clarify the status and eligibility of furlough leave for employees.
Who can be put on furlough?
The updated guidance clarifies that employers have the option of furloughing employees whose health has been affected by coronavirus or those who now have care responsibilities. In order to be eligible, the employee must be unable to work, whether that be on a reduction of hours or from home, because they:
– Are clinically extremely vulnerable or at the highest risk of severe illness; or
– Have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus.
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
A person will be deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable if their GP has added them to the Shielded Patient List or because they have one of the conditions which the Government has previously listed; including people with specific cancers or severe respiratory conditions.
The guidance has expanded and clarified caring responsibilities to include those who are caring for children who are at home as a result of school or childcare facilities closing. It also covers those caring for a vulnerable individual in their household.
As schools are closed to the majority of children, many employees will be juggling their workload with the addition care responsibility. If they are unable to carry out their job for this reason, the employer can now place them on furlough.
Must employees be furloughed?
Whilst employers still have the option to furlough employees, it is their choice – not that of the employee!
The decision therefore comes down to the employer, regardless as to whether the employee feels it would be in their best interest. When deciding whether or not to furlough any of the workforce, employers should carry out appropriate risk assessments and take each employee’s personal circumstances into account.
If you require assistance on the furlough scheme, then please call the team on 01752 663295.