Frequently Asked Questions For Colleagues on Furlough (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) and Flexible Furlough

For questions on the following topics click on the links below:

Details of the Scheme
Your payments under the scheme
Your benefits under the scheme
Additional Questions
Flexible Furlough

Details of the Scheme

1. What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

If an employer suffers a reduction in work, such that they cannot cover employee costs due to COVID-19, a Government scheme has been put in place where they are able to access financial support to continue paying part of your wages and avoid potential redundancies. 

Using this scheme helps a business stay financially secure during these times of uncertainty and keep people in employment.  If your role is identified as being a role where there is no demand for the work you do or a reduced demand, then we will discuss with you becoming a ‘furloughed worker’. 

The scheme was first announced by the Government on 20 March 2020.  The scheme has been extended and it will now close on 31 October 2020. 

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30 June 2020. This means that if you have not previously been placed on furlough leave for at least a 3-week period by 30 June 2020, you will not be eligible to be furloughed. The only exception to this is for parents on statutory maternity leave who plan to return to work during the period of the scheme, and also applies to leave for shared parental, paternity, adoption, and parental bereavement. 

The new Flexible Furlough Scheme will be in effect from 1 July 2020.  The final section of this webpage addresses questions specifically related to this.

2.What does furlough mean?

If you are furloughed then you are definitely still part of the Restore team – this is just a temporary suspension and so you are not required to attend work but paid a proportion of your usual earnings. You will be kept on the payroll as a Restore employee, rather than being made redundant.

3.How long will I be on the job retention scheme for?

The scheme was made available in mid-March and, further to an extension, is in place until 31 October 2020. The date that your period of furlough starts, and the anticipated date that it will end, will be confirmed in writing to you. We will contact you when the anticipated date of return is approaching to update you on the situation. We will continue to review Government guidelines on social restrictions and the impact this has on our customer demand. If work becomes available for you once again before the 31 October 2020, we will contact you to inform you that we will be concluding your period of furlough, and you will return to work sooner.

4.Am I being made redundant if I am furloughed?

No, you are still very much an employee of Restore. By furloughing your employment, we aim to prevent roles being made redundant.

5.Does furlough leave apply to colleagues on zero hours contracts?

Yes, if you are an employee of Restore and on our payroll. The scheme aims to support all those employed through the PAYE system regardless of their employment contract, including colleagues on zero hour’s contracts. 

The 80% grant is applied to the higher of: [1] the earnings in the same pay period in the previous year; or [2] the average earnings in the whole previous 12 months (or fewer if they have worked for less time than this, including part month calculation if they were taken in February).

6.How much notice will you give me if I need to return to work because of customer demand or workload has increased?

The period of being a furloughed worker is whilst the company has no work for you to carry out. As soon as we are able to bring you back to commence your role again, we will be in contact with you with at least 48 hours’ notice, so you need to remain available. 

The initial period of furlough status is at least 3 weeks; however, as of 1 July 2020, there will be no requirement for a minimum furlough period. The scheme is in operation until 31 October 2020. It is important that we can keep in touch with you during your furlough period, so we can contact you to return when there is work available. We may rotate periods of furlough between colleagues where there is reduced workload but still require some colleagues to work.

7.What if I don’t want to return before the anticipated end date of my furlough period?

Where there is an increase in workload / demand, you may be required to return to work before the anticipated end date you were given when you were initially furloughed. We will give you 48 hours’ notice if we require you to return to work. 

If you do not make yourself available for work at this time, then we would not be able to pay you in accordance with the Government scheme rules and this time would then be unpaid or you would need to take annual leave. Failure to return to work when the furlough period ends without a reasonable explanation may be classed as an unauthorised absence and may lead to action being taken under the Disciplinary Policy.

8.Can I take another job whilst on furlough?

We would ask that you notify us of any intention to take on additional paid employment whilst on furlough. Also we must remind you that you are still employed by Restore so any additional employment must not bring the Company into disrepute, or cause a conflict of interest. 

Restore will provide you with a minimum of 48 hours’ notice to recall you back to work, therefore if you do take on additional employment you need to be available to return when required.

Your payments under the Scheme

9. How do I know what I will be paid after tax?

You will need to take into account your normal deductions such as tax and NI. However you may also find it useful to use an online calculator to estimate your take home wages such as https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/tax-calculator/

10. What will I get paid if I am furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme?

In your furlough period, you will receive 80% of your wages, subject to relevant deductions of tax, NI etc. and any deductions for salary sacrifice schemes. In line with the scheme, we will use your actual salary before tax as of 28 February 2020 in order to calculate the amount, regardless of when you have been put on the scheme. 

Example: 

Gross annual salary @ 28th February 2020 £22,500 £32,500
Gross Monthly £1,875 £2,708
Percentage pay 80% 80%
Gross monthly under JRS £1,500 £2,167

 

 

 

 

Example zero hours contract: 

11. Is the wage calculation based on pre or post-salary sacrifice wages?

A salary sacrifice arrangement is an agreement to reduce an employee's entitlement to cash pay, usually in return for a non-cash benefit e.g. salary sacrifice pension, childcare vouchers, cycle to work. 

For purposes of calculating your 80% furlough wage, the reference salary does not include the cost of non-monetary benefits provided to an employee, including taxable benefits in kind. Benefits provided through salary sacrifice should not be included in the reference salary. Example, if your salary was £21,000 but £1000 was paid into your pension as a salary sacrifice, the reference salary becomes £20,000.

12. Do I have to claim the money through the job retention scheme?

No, you will be paid in the normal way via Restore payroll. Restore will make any claim to HMRC.

13. Will Restore still pay Employer National Insurance and Pension contributions for furloughed employees?

Restore are still liable for both employer national insurance and employer pension contributions on behalf of our furloughed employees, and will continue to make all payments in accordance with this. Restore can claim for reimbursement of the payments from the HMRC until the end of July 2020. From August 2020, Restore cannot claim for the reimbursement of the payments.

14.Will a furloughed employee still be paid their bonus if earned before the furlough period starts?

Yes, you have already earned this bonus. So if you have worked overtime or earned commission before being furloughed, this will be paid as normal in the following pay run. No commission can be earned whilst on furlough.

15.Will a furloughed employee still be paid commission if earned before the furlough period starts?

Yes, you have already earned this commission so will be paid. So if you have worked overtime or earned commission before being furloughed, this will be paid as normal in the following pay run. No commission can be earned whilst on furlough.

16.My salary incudes regular and/or commission/bonus/overtime payments; how will my wages be worked out for the furlough period?

In line with the scheme rules, we do not believe commission, bonus and overtime will be used to calculate the furloughed colleague’s wages. We will regularly review government guidelines and provide updates if anything changes. For full time and part time colleagues, we will use your actual salary before tax as of 28 February 2020. 

For colleagues on zero-hour contracts please see the specific question regarding your calculation.

17.Why isn’t my overtime/commission included?

The Government has clearly defined the way that we calculate pay for full-time and part-time employees. The guidelines state that we should use colleague’s actual salary before tax, as of 28 February to calculate the 80%. We will continue to assess HMRC rules and seek clarity. If HMRC clearly states its intended policy to compensate for these, we may be able to claim and repay to individuals.

Your benefits under the Scheme

18. Will I be entitled to receive contractual benefits while furloughed?

You will be entitled to receive your contractual benefits in the normal way, unless you have a provision in your contact of employment indicating otherwise, or you have agreed not to receive them.

19. What will I get paid for Bank Holidays whilst on furlough?

Bank Holidays will be paid at 100% of normal salary. For colleagues on 5.6 weeks holiday and are expected to work bank holidays their holiday entitlement will be reduced by one day. We will continue to assess HMRC rules and seek clarity. If HMRC clearly states its intended policy to compensate for these, we may be able to claim and repay to individuals.

20. Can annual leave be taken during furlough leave?

Annual leave can be taken during furlough, and we are actively encouraging it with employees. Any annual leave is paid at 100% of normal salary. For any queries you may have about annual leave, you are advised to contact your line manager or your respective HR team.

21. What happens if I become sick whilst on furlough?

Whilst you are on furlough status, please ensure that you update the business in the usual way if you are sick or needing to self-isolate. This is so that we are aware of your current status at any point, and if there is work available, we understand whether you are fit to return when required. If you are ill, you will remain on furlough status. 

Please review the Addendum to the Management of Attendance Policy and Procedure for absence related to Coronavirus.

22. In addition to my salary I also receive an allowance, will this be paid whilst on furlough?

Depending on your role or circumstances, you may also be in receipt of an additional allowance or payments. The majority of allowances related to your roles and responsibilities will continue to be paid in full. However if you normally receive allowances related to working unsociable hours or being on call then these will not be paid during this period of furlough.

23.Can I pause my payments such as SAYE, Pension and Childcare vouchers?

Yes, you are able to defer making payments. All three schemes may have different criterion such as the length of time you are able to pause the scheme for. Please also advice the payroll team if you wish to pause so they can also pause on the payroll systems.

24.What if I need to contact my Restore pension provider?

Pensions for Restore and Datashred are provided by NEST and Scottish Widows. Pensions for Digital are provided by Standard Life and Scottish Widows 

If you a member of a scheme you will have been provided with a pension account and log in details from pension provider. If you are unable to locate you can contact the relevant provider on the following numbers: 

NEST Employee Helpline: 0300 020 0090 

Scottish Widows – scheme number and contact details;
Restore Group Personal Pension (P000087789) 0345 600 4401 

Standard Life – scheme numbers and contact details:
Restore Digital Scheme no. JQ2538
HG J33019 RT
JQ9580
0345 606 0098

25.What if I need to make changes to my childcare vouchers?

You can contact the providers of childcare vouchers and manage your contributions using the following details and your logs in: 

Restore and Datashred
www.computersharevoucherservices.com 

Digital
www.sodexo.com

26.What if I need to make changes to my Save As You Earn scheme (SAYE)?

You can contact the SAYE scheme using the following the details: 

www.myrestoreshares.com or 0371 664 0330

27.What will happen to my work equipment such as laptop, mobile phone?

You can keep hold of this equipment and use it to keep in touch with work, however you must not undertake any work whilst on furlough leave.

Additional Questions

28. What do I do if a customer contacts me?

It is important that you direct the customer to your manager or a designated colleague. You can explain that you are currently furloughed and another member of the team will need to handle their query. We would like to remind you that you remain an employee and therefore an ambassador of the Company and should ensure you represent the business well during this time.

29. How will you keep in touch with me?

It’s really important that we stay connected with all our colleagues during this period. We will be sharing regular updates and information with you. You should stay connected with your line manager and also make sure that you are available should we need to contact you. We have asked you for your personal email address details and we will use this to keep you updated as the situation progresses. If you are concerned that you haven’t heard from us then please make sure you check your junk email folder or alternatively contact your line manager.

30. Can I complete any training whilst on furlough leave?

Whilst you are on furlough status, you are able to undertake training to develop yourself and keep you occupied. If you are enrolled on an apprenticeship programme, this is an opportunity to continue your studies and ensure you are up to date with your work. You can also do any allocated training through Safety Media. 

If there are areas that you want to improve – now might be the time. There are various free courses available that you might want to consider so that you are developing yourself whilst you are not able to work. 

For some suggestions on courses, you may wish to click on the link 

There is a suite of learning modules to support remote working, mental health in the workplace and software training to hone your skills. 

If you don’t have a Restore email address but would be interested in accessing the e-learning, get in touch with your local HR team who will be able to arrange access for you using a personal email address of your preference.

31. I now have more work to do because some of my colleagues have been furloughed, how will I be supported?

The reason a number of our colleagues have been designated as furloughed employees is because the workload has significantly reduced in certain areas of the business. Some of their tasks may now have been assigned to you to do but the overall amount of work is less. However if you feel that your workload has increased and you are concerned about this please speak to your line manager. We are very grateful to all of our colleagues who are continuing to work hard in the business through these very challenging times and we want to support you as best we can.

32. When will I find out what is happening with my role?

We are liaising with our customers to understand what work they require from us, and we also need to check that any work we are doing can be completed in a safe way, risk assessing against hygiene and social distancing practices. 

Given what is happening with customer demands, some teams and business units may understand at a different time what is happening with their role, but we will start to notify colleagues from 30 June 2020.

Flexible Furlough

33. What is flexible furlough and who is eligible?

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring employees, who have previously been furloughed, back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern if some work is available but not enough to return an employee from furlough. Under flexible furlough, a line manager can agree a temporary working pattern with an employee, in which the employee would work some days, or parts of days. For example, you may be asked to work 5 half days a week for a period of time, or different hours, different days, or for an odd day or two. There is no minimum or maximum number of hours that you must work. 

Only employees who have previously had a period of furlough leave of at least three weeks, at any time, will be eligible to be placed on flexible furlough. There is one exception – parents on statutory maternity leave who plan to return to work in the coming months are eligible as well, and this also applies to leave for shared parental, paternity, adoption, and parental bereavement.

34. I am eligible for the scheme. Will I be placed on flexible furlough?

Restore will continue to review staffing requirements in light of the option to place eligible employees on flexible furlough. If a line manager identifies an instance where it may be beneficial to the business, they may approach you about the possibility of you becoming flexibly furloughed, and together, you will consider an appropriate working pattern. 

Where a flexible working pattern is agreed between you and your line manager under the scheme, you will be notified in writing that you have been designated as a flexibly furloughed employee, along with the length of time that the arrangement will remain in place. If you believe that flexible furlough would be beneficial to you and the Company, then you may wish to raise this with your line manager, who can discuss the possibility of it with you. 

It is important to note that being able to carry out flexible furlough still relies on work being available to be offered.

35. How long could flexible furlough last?

The Job Retention Scheme has been extended to 31 October 2020, therefore a flexible furlough arrangement could extend to this date.

36. What will I be paid under the flexible furlough scheme?

Under the scheme, you will be paid full contractual pay for any normal working hours you work, and furlough pay of 80% of your contractual pay for any hours you do not work up to your normal contractual weekly hours of work.

Example of Calculating Pay for Furloughed Hours 

This example has been included to illustrate the full sequence of steps that Restore will take when calculating pay for furloughed hours. It has been based on a common scenario in which an employee has a fixed monthly salary, fixed working hours, and is flexibly furloughed. This scenario may not be directly relevant to you, though it may be helpful to see an illustrative example of a full calculation. 

Hannah has worked for Restore since 2016, working 40 hours a week for a monthly salary of £3,000, paid calendar monthly. Hannah was furloughed on 25 April 2020, From 1 July 2020, Hannah is asked to return to work half-days. Pay has not been topped up and there is no bonus, commission or other additional pay. 

As they prepare to pay employees for the end of July, Restore calculates the gross monthly payment for Hannah’s furlough hours (for 1 to 31 July). 

To begin with, as Hannah is flexibly furloughed from 1 July, Restore works out her usual hours. Hannah has fixed hours and a salary that does not vary by the number of hours worked so the calculation is: 

  1. The number of hours Hannah was contracted for at the end of the last pay period ending on or before 19 March 2020. This was 40 hours per week. 
  2. Divide by the number of calendar days in the repeating working pattern. It is a weekly pattern, so divide by 7. 3. 
  3. Multiply by the number of days in the pay period. 31 days in July, so multiply by 31. 4. 
  4. Result is 177.14, rounded up to 178. 

Hannah’s usual hours for the month of July is therefore 178 hours. 

Next, Restore calculates the number of working hours and furloughed hours. Hannah will work 23 half days, each of 4 hours, so working hours are 92. Furlough hours are calculated as: 

  1. Number of usual hours, 178 
  2. Subtract the number of actual hours worked, so subtract 92 = 86 furlough hours. 

Hannah was therefore on furlough for 86 hours. 

After that, Restore works out the 80% of the usual wage. 

Restore calculates the maximum wage amount. Hannah is furloughed throughout July so there are 31 furlough days. As Restore will claim for the pay period which is a whole month, the maximum wage amount is £2,500. Hannah is on fixed pay, so the calculation is: 

  1. Hannah’s wages from her last pay period before 19 March = £3,000. 
  2. Multiply by 80% = £2,400. 

As Furlough pay for flexibly furloughed employee is the lesser of either 80% of usual wages (here it is £2,400) or the maximum wage amount for July (here it is £2,500), Restore therefore uses £2,400. 

Finally, Restore works out how much Hannah is entitled to receive for her furloughed hours. 

  1. Multiply Hannah’s maximum wage amount, £2400, by Hannah’s furloughed hours, 86. 2. 
  2. Divide by Hannah’s usual hours, 178 = £1,159.55. 

Hannah should therefore be paid £1,159.55 for the hours that she was on furlough in the month of July. 

Separately, Restore will also work out how much Hannah is entitled to receive for the hours that she worked in July. By combining the two amounts, Restore will have calculated Hannah’s monthly pay for July.