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Furlough pay and debt

Being on furlough leave from your job is worrying and in most cases means having to get by on a reduced income. Furloughed employees should still receive wages and may return to work when the leave ends.

Although you may hope to get back to work as soon as possible, it may not be clear when you'll be able to, so it’s important to act fast to stop your financial situation becoming worse.

If you’re worried about how to deal with your household bills or debts, or both, we can help.

On this page, we answer the following questions:

  1. What does furloughing mean?
  2. Will I still get paid if I'm furloughed?
  3. Will I be made redundant?
  4. Can I ask to be furloughed?
  5. Can I refuse to be furloughed?
  6. Can I work to boost my income?
  7. Can I still get help with money?
  8. What if I'm not eligible for furloughing?

1. I’m on furlough, what does this mean?

If you’re on ‘furlough’ it means you still have a job, but you don’t have to go to work. So, you’re still on your employer’s payroll, and you may return to work when your furlough period ends.

If you're on furlough, you're not alone, many workers are on furlough because their place of work has has to temporarily close due to coronavirus.

2. Will I still get paid if I'm on furlough?

You should continue to be paid when you’re on furlough. However, this may only be 80% of your usual pay each month.

That's because employers are able to claim back 80% of their furloughed workers' wages back from the government. However, some employers may offer to 'top-up' wages with their own money to reduce the impact on their employees.

This plan has been put in place until at least the end of June 2020.

If you're on furlough this means:

  • You'll be paid at least 80% of your normal monthly wage (up to £2,500)
  • You're entitled to 80% of your pay from 1 March 2020
  • You must have started working for your employer on or before 19 March 2020

Whether you’re being paid or not, if you’re worried about how your finances may be affected on a longer-term basis you can:

3. I’m on furlough, will I be made redundant?

If you’re on furlough from work it’s because your employers are taking steps to deal with the economic impact of coronavirus. Companies can get support from the government, so workers can receive 80% of their wages while being furloughed.

Being on furlough doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re at extra risk of redundancy. Read our guide to coronavirus and your finances for more information.

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Your rights when on furlough

If you’re facing the possibility of being furloughed, or you already have been, it’s important that you understand your rights and entitlements. The government provides more information about this here.

4. Can I ask to be put on furlough?

If you're worried about the security of your job, you can ask your employer to consider putting you on furlough. This could help their company keep costs down, whilst making it possible for you to return to work when the coronavirus crisis has calmed down.

However, the decision is ultimately up your employer so they have the right to deny your request to be furloughed.

5. Can I refuse to be put on furlough?

Your employer has the right to decide which employees to put on furlough. It's recommended that they ask for volunteers first, but if enough people don't volunteer, it's up to your employer to decide who should be furloughed.

6. Can I work to boost my income on furlough?

If you're on furlough, although you're not currently working, you are still employed. This means that any rules set out in your employment contract still apply.

Check your contract to see if it allows you to work elsewhere when employed by the company, or contact your employer to check.

Boosting your income and filling your new spare time with another job may sound appealing, but if you break the terms of your existing contract with your employer you risk facing disciplinary action and put your current job at risk.

7. I'm on furlough, can I get help with money?

If you need urgent help with money to pay for food and other essentials, find out what help is available here.

If you're worried about your financial situation as a result of coronavirus, you can find out more about the help available in our coronavirus information hub, which is updated daily with the latest developments.

8. What if I'm not eligible for furloughing?

If you're not eligible for furloughing and aren't being paid at all during this period, you can claim Universal Credit. Read our guide to coronavirus, benefits and statutory sick pay.