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Coronavirus furlough Q What are your rights, how will it affect you and how long will it last?

Jessica Beard
An illustration of a man wearing a facemask sitting next to a pile of coins

Millions of workers in Britain have been forced to learn a new word, "furlough", as businesses rush to cut costs in the fallout from the outbreak of coronavirus. 

Many will be unable to work from home, while others will find their work drying up as entire industries grind to a halt. But many companies will be reluctant to let their employees go altogether and instead will choose to put their workers into a suspended state, furlough.

It’s not all bad news for those in this position as the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised that the Government will pay up to 80pc of wages, up to £2,500 a month in a bid to keep people in their jobs.

Join personal finance reporter, Jessica Beard, who will be answering your furlough questions today at 1 p.m (BST). 


Do companies need to show a reduction in work to get the Government grant?

The Job Retention Scheme does not actually require employers to prove they are suffering financial hardship but it was intended to help businesses survive while keeping their employees in a job. The vast majority of businesses will be feeling the squeeze in one way or another and it is likely that your friend’s one is too. In the end, the decision to furlough staff is entirely up to the employer. 

What if I started a new job after the cut off date (February 28)?

There will be thousands of people in your situation, who have started a new job after the February 28 cut off. Unfortunately anyone who started working at their current company on or after March 1 will not be eligible for the government grant if they are put on furlough. This means that you would not receive any wages. There is little guidance from the Chancellor about what can be done for people who were between jobs. However, nothing stops you from trying to negotiate a deal with your employer if you are happy to take an even bigger pay cut and can do your work from home. 

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