following the latest lockdown regulations HMRC has issued further guidance on whether parents with caring responsibilities can be furloughed. Shown below is an extract from Gov.uk
If your employee’s health has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other conditions
Your employee is eligible for the grant and can be furloughed, if they are unable to work, including from home or working reduced hours because they:
- are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance
- have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household
If your employee is self-isolating or on sick leave
If your employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of coronavirus, they may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness.
Short term illness/self-isolation should not be a consideration in deciding whether to furlough an employee. If, however, employers want to furlough employees for business reasons and they are currently off sick, they are eligible to do so, as with other employees. In these cases, the employee should no longer receive sick pay and would be classified as a furloughed employee.
Employers can furlough employees who are clinically extremely vulnerable or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus. It is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees. An employer does not need to be facing a wider reduction in demand or be closed to be eligible to claim for these employees.
You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time. When an employee is on furlough, you can only reclaim expenditure through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and not the SSP rebate scheme. If a non-furloughed employee becomes ill due to coronavirus, needs to self-isolate or shield, then you might qualify for the SSP rebate scheme, where you can claim up to two weeks of SSP per employee.
If your employee becomes sick while furloughed
Furloughed employees retain their statutory rights, including their right to SSP. This means that furloughed employees who become ill, due to Coronavirus or any other cause, must be paid at least SSP. Subject to eligibility this includes those self-isolating or clinically extremely because of Coronavirus. It is up to employers to decide whether to move these employees onto SSP or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.
If a furloughed employee who becomes sick is moved onto SSP, employers can no longer claim for the furloughed salary. Employers are required to pay SSP themselves, although may qualify for a rebate for up to two weeks of SSP if the sickness is related to coronavirus.
If employers keep the sick furloughed employee on the furloughed rate for the period that they are sick, they remain eligible to claim for these costs through the furloughed scheme.
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