Following the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs that we previously released, we know a number of employers are considering furloughing some of their employees to help ease the financial burden while the business isn't trading normally.
We also know that while you've been exploring this option and having conversations with your employees, some of you have received the seemingly somewhat cheeky question of:
"Can I work for another business while I'm on furlough leave?"
As we know, to access the 80% grant (which covers the salary, NI contributions and 3% employer pension contributions) the employer needs to register their employee as "Furloughed".
This means that the employee has been asked to officially stop working because of the coronavirus as there is no work for them - a way of safe-guarding their job instead of laying them off.
In answer to the question, we know that, to qualify for the Scheme (and pass any HMRC checks that are done) the furloughed employee cannot continue working for their employer. No exceptions.
However, interestingly - just as if your employee was to take on another job during their employment, they are allowed to take on another job while they're on furlough leave. As long as that new job does not interfere or breach the contractual obligations they have with you, as their primary employer.
For example, in the current circumstances, an employee who is contracted 9am to 5pm and has been furloughed, can take on another job as long as it is outside their contractual hours with you. Such as a customer assistant at a supermarket, a worker on a produce farm, a delivery driver or a support assistant for the local Council - this could be in the evenings or at the weekends, whatever works around their contract.
Simply - if your employee asks if they can work for another employer while they are furloughed, the answer is:
Yes, as long as the hours you commit to do not breach your contractual obligations with us or if you agree to them taking on a temporary contract while they are furloughed from your employment, then you can waive their contractual obligations temporarily.