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Coronavirus - being furloughed if you can’t work

This advice applies to England

You can’t be furloughed after 30 September 2021 - the government have ended the furlough scheme. If you need money, you should check what benefits you can get

If your employer reduces your hours or pay, you can check what to do if your employer changes your contract.

If you’re self-employed

There’s another government scheme which helps people who are self-employed.

If you’re self-employed, you might be able to use the self-employment scheme.

Find out more about the scheme for self-employed people.

If you’ve been made redundant

Your employer still has to pay you any money you're owed and follow the right process. They can’t discriminate against you - check if your redundancy is fair if you’re not sure.

You might be entitled to:

Check if you were paid the right amount

While you were furloughed you should have got at least 80% of your regular pay before tax - known as your ‘gross pay’. You couldn't get more than £2,500 a month, even if 80% of your gross pay was more than this. 

Your employer should have calculated your furlough pay using the amount you earned in your last pay before 19 March 2020 if you were on the payroll on 19 March 2020.

If you started your job between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, they should have used the amount you earned in your last pay before 30 October 2020.

If you started your job on or after 1 November 2020, they should have used the amount you earned in your last pay before 2 March 2021.

Your employer couldn't include tips when working out how much you could get. They could only include commission and bonuses if your contract says you should always get them.

If you were furloughed part-time, you should have got 100% of your normal gross pay for the days you worked and at least 80% for the days you were furloughed.

Your employer might have decided to pay you the extra 20% so you get 100% of your normal gross pay. If they told you they would but tried to pay you less, they might have breached your contract. You can check what to do if you’re having problems getting your furlough pay.  

Your employer should have taken off tax, National Insurance contributions and any other deductions they normally make. 

If your pay varied or you did paid overtime 

Your pay might have varied because you:

  • didn't have fixed hours in your contract
  • got commissions or bonuses based on performance
  • got a fixed salary but did 'significant' paid overtime

How your employer calculates your furlough pay will depend on when you started your job and when you were furloughed.

If you were on the payroll on 19 March 2020

Your employer should have claimed for whichever is higher out of:

  • the amount you earned in the same month in the 2019-20 tax year
  • your average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year

If you started your job on or after 20 March 2020

Your employer should have claimed for your average monthly earnings. They should have used the amount you earned between the day before you were furloughed for the first time and:

  • 6 April 2020 if you started your job before that date
  • the date you started your job if it was after 6 April 2020

If you got a fixed salary but did paid overtime

Your furlough pay should reflect any 'significant' overtime you have done. This means frequent overtime where you often got extra pay.

If you've only done occasional hours of overtime, this won't be included.

If you have done a lot of overtime, ask your employer to include your overtime in their calculations.

You can show them the guidance about calculating furlough pay on GOV.UK.

If you and your employer paid into a workplace pension scheme

Your employer still had to make the minimum contributions to your pension. If your employer was paying more than 3%, they might have stopped paying the extra amount while you were furloughed.

Your employer should have taken your pension contributions from the money you got through the scheme. 

If you’re having problems getting your furlough pay

Find out what to do if you’re having problems getting furlough pay. 

If you need money urgently, you can:

If your employer asked you to work while you were furloughed

If your employer furloughed you, they shouldn’t have asked you to work during any hours you’re furloughed - this includes asking you to work voluntarily. 

Your employer could have asked you to do certain types of training - for example, an online course to improve your skills. They weren't allowed to ask you to do training if it made money or provided services for them.

Your employer could have committed a criminal offence if they asked you to work during any hours you were furloughed. You could complain to your employer - tell them it’s against the rules of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It’s a good idea to complain in writing, for example by text or email - this means you’ll have evidence if you need it.

You could also report your employer to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You don’t have to give your personal details when you report your employer. You can report an employer to HMRC on GOV.UK. Choose the option to ‘report tax fraud online’.

If you’re worried about what could happen to you if you report your employer, you can:

If you get Universal Credit

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will have counted your furlough payments as earnings when they worked out your Universal Credit payment. You can check how your Universal Credit payment is worked out.

If you’re in the UK on a work visa

If you’ve been furloughed, it won’t affect your right to stay in the UK. For example, if your visa requires you to:

  • have a job - being furloughed doesn’t mean you’ve lost your job
  • not claim money from 'public funds' - furlough pay isn’t seen as public funds
  • earn a minimum amount - it doesn’t matter if your furlough pay was less than the minimum amount
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