What is the UK Job Retention Scheme & Who is eligible?

Published 17th April 2020

UK Job Retention Scheme

One of the most widely discussed subjects in relation to jobs and the UK economy right now is the Job Retention Scheme (furlough), recently announced by the UK government.

Employers and employees alike are understandably concerned about what the current circumstances are going to mean for their future. And the furlough scheme has offered some reassurance that support will be made available to those who need it.

However, many have found the available information confusing, and with new details emerging over time on how it will work, it’s no surprise that some employers will have concerns about implementing it without further guidance.

Here at Pierce, we are able to guide you through the legislation, and offer advice on how your company and employees can benefit from the scheme. You will find a much more in depth explanation of the scheme on our Employee/ Employer Payments page.

What is the Job Retention Scheme?

The job retention scheme (or furlough) is a response put in place by the UK government to protect the economy in these challenging times. Many businesses will have been forced to reduce, or cease their operations completely for the time being. During this period, without government assistance, many businesses may have been forced to lay off some or all of their staff to protect the company’s finances.

The job retention scheme means that you can continue to employ your staff while they aren’t working, without jeopardising your company’s financial stability. It allows you to apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month.

Who is eligible?

The simple answer to this question is that it covers all employees who were on your PAYE scheme as of 28th Feb 2020.

However, we know that employers will have many questions around this. For a more in depth explanation of which employees are eligible, and how individual circumstances are catered for, visit our Employee/ Employer Payments page.


Apprentices can be furloughed, and they can continue to train during this period. Bear in mind, however, that if the 80% grant falls below the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) while they are undertaking training, you will be responsible for topping up their wages.

Working while furloughed

Furloughed employees cannot undertake any work for, or on behalf, of your organisation.

However, they are allowed to continue working for another employer whilst furloughed by you, provided their contract allows it.

Minimum period

The minimum period you can furlough an employee for is 3 weeks. Payments will be prorated for employees whose furlough lasts less than a month.

How to claim

To make a claim, you will need certain details. You can find the full list on our Employee/ Employer Payments page.

You will need to make your claim using the amounts in your payroll. Remember to make the appropriate adjustments in your payroll before employees are paid. It is up to you to calculate how much you are claiming.

HMRC will then check your claim, and if you’re eligible, pay it to you by BACS to a UK bank account.

Talk to us

e understand that there is a lot to take in, and this is brand new legislation, so those responsible for your Payroll may need some additional assistance right now. We are ready to help. So get in touch today.

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