The Government has announced its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to allow employers to keep paying staff who would otherwise have been laid off. The scheme will pay 80% of your salary if your employer designates you as being ‘furloughed’ due to the virus. You will not continue to work but will remain an employee. Even if you have already been laid off, you can still ask your employer to rehire you and designate you as ‘furloughed’ instead, provided that you were employed on the 28th February.
Importantly for students, the scheme does apply to part-time staff and people on zero hours / variable hours contracts.
The scheme covers anyone who is enrolled on PAYE and you can check your payslip to see if that applies to you. So if you have been working part-time but have stopped being offered work due to the Coronavirus, this scheme can support you. The 80% will be calculated from your average earnings over the past 12 months and you can find more detailed information on the scheme on the Scottish Trade Union Congress’ (STUC) website here.
The only exception is for those classed as ‘self-employed’, for example those in the ‘gig-economy’. There is alternative government support available under the Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme and the STUC has information on this here.
So if you are / were an employee, you can access this scheme and continue to receive 80% of your salary. The important thing though is that your employer has to designate you as being a ‘furloughed’ employee. So our advice is to write to your employer and ask that they designate you as being ‘furloughed’. This will not cost the employer anything.
If you have any issues or questions about this, please contact the ENSA Advice team at email@example.com.