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Furlough pay and debt

signpost icon If you're worried about money due to the end of the furlough scheme, answer a few quick questions, so we can understand the best way to help you.

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. What does the furloughing extension mean for me?
  4. Will I be made redundant?
  5. Can I ask to be furloughed?
  6. Can I refuse to be furloughed?
  7. Can I work to boost my income?
  8. Can I still get help with money?
  9. What if I'm not eligible for furloughing?
  10. What happens when furloughing ends?
  11. I'm self-employed, what help is available?

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.

3. What does the furloughing scheme extension mean for me?

The furloughing scheme has now been extended until at least the end of September 2021.

If you were already on furlough before 31 October 2020, this means:

  • You'll still be paid at least 80% of your normal monthly wage (up to £2,500)
  • You're still entitled to 80% of your pay from 1 March 2020

If you're being furloughed after 31 October 2020, this means:

  • You'll be paid at least 80% of your normal monthly wage (up to £2,500)
  • You must have started working for your employer on or before 30 October 2020
  • You don't need to have been furloughed before to be eligible

  • 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:

    What if I was made redundant?

    If you were made redundant after 23 September 2020 because your employer was struggling financially due to the impact of coronavirus, you can be rehired and put back on furlough.

    If you were made redundant on or before 23 September 2020, take a look at our redundancy guide for more information about the support available.

    4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. What happens when furloughing ends?

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will be put in place by the government to help protect people's jobs if their employer is struggling with the impact of coronavirus on their business. It will do this by helping employers to keep paying their staff, and aim to reduce the risk of job loss.

The scheme is planned to begin when furloughing comes to an end. This will be at the end of September 2021 at the earliest. When it starts, it will run for six months.

11. I'm self-employed, what help is available?

The existing Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is being extended for six months, from 1 November 2020 to April 2021.

If you're self-employed, this means you could be eligible for two lump-sum grant payments, each covering three months:

  • Grant 1 - covering 1 November to 31 January 2021 - This taxable grant will cover 80% of your monthly profits. It is one payment that will cover three months' profits, up to a maximum of £7,500 in total
  • Grant 2 - covering 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021 - The second grant will also be paid in one lump-sum to cover the full three-month period. However, the Government hasn't confirmed how much this grant will be yet

You can also consider applying for Universal Credit to help you through this difficult time. Read our guide to coronavirus, benefits and statutory sick pay.