FAQs about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - archived September 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension - supply teachers

Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until the end of September 2021. Until the end of June 2021, the UK Government will pay 80% of employees’ usual wages for the hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. In July, this will reduce to 70% with a cap of £2,187.50, and in August and September this will reduce to 60% with a cap of £1,875.

For those who were previously subject to furlough, the system for calculating the grant remains the same. For those who were not previously subject to furlough under previous versions of the CJRS, the system for calculating the grant is different (see below). 

It should be noted that there is nothing that prohibits an employer topping up the wages so that an employee receives 100% of their salary.

In return for the grant, the employer is expected to pay the employer’s National Insurance contributions (NICs) and pension contributions, as well as agreeing in writing with the employee that they will not undertake work for that employer for the period they are on furlough or flexible furlough, where an employee works some, but not all of their normal hours, whilst being furloughed for the remaining hours.

The scheme will be reviewed in January 2021 and the Government will decide whether employers should contribute more for February and March.

The FAQs detailed below under The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension and The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension - supply teachers are being updated to cover the key aspects of the scheme, including any significant changes.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension

Please read the note above on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in conjunction with these FAQs.

What changes have been made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including the eligibility criteria following the March 2021 budget?

The Chancellor announced in the March 2021 budget that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would be extended until September 2021. The extension of the scheme retains the vast majority of the aspects of the scheme as currently operated until July 2021, when employers will be asked to contribute more towards the cost of the wages of those who are on furlough.

Employers will still be expected to pay National Insurance and pension contributions in April, May and June, but from July, the employer contribution towards the 80% paid under the CJRS will be 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.

Whilst the extension of the CJRS is welcomed, as the scheme has now operated since March 2020, this extension could cause unintended complexities in the way in which some calculations for the purpose of furlough pay are made. For example, some workers on furlough may not receive the benefit of any pay rises they are entitled to because the calculations could be based on data that is two years old.

Under the previous CJRS operating until March 2021, employers could only claim for employees, including supply teachers as agency workers, who were employed on 30 October, provided the employer has made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, unless the employer re-employed an employee after 23 September 2020.

For periods ending on or before 30 April 2021, employers can claim for employees provided they were employed on 30 October 2020 and the employer has made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between the 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee, unless the employer re-employed an employee after 23 September 2020. The employer does not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 30 October 2020 to claim.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, employers are able to include employees that were previously not eligible due to RTI submissions being sent after 30 October 2020. Government guidance now states that all employees who have had a PAYE RTI submission made for them between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021 are now eligible to be included in a CJRS claim from May 2021. The employer does not to have previously claimed for an employee before 2 March 2021 to claim for periods starting on or after 1 May 2021.

You should check this carefully in order to establish whether you are eligible to be put on furlough. If you were not on the payroll, then you will not be eligible to be furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme, but you may be eligible for other state benefits.

The Union has provided advice and guidance on claiming Social Security Benefits During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

If I have not yet been furloughed, can my employer still furlough me under the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

For periods ending on or before 30 April 2021, employers can claim for employees, provided they were employed on 30 October 2020 and the employer has made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee, unless the employer re-employed an employee after 23 September 2020.

In addition, employers can now claim for employees who were employed on 2 March 2021, provided the employer has made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021.

What payment will I receive under the extended Job Retention Scheme if I am furloughed?

Your employer will need to establish the relevant reference period in order to establish how to calculate your pay accordingly, as the different versions of the CJRS operate different reference periods.

In addition, it should be noted that the reference periods vary depending on whether or not you are on fixed or variable hours, such as supply teachers.

If you were previously furloughed under the CJRS before the end of October 2020 then your employer should calculate your furlough payment according to the same calculations for calculating reference pay and usual hours as previously used for the CJRS.

If you were on fixed hours and on the payroll before 20 March 2020, the reference period for working out a claim under the CJRS should be the hours in the last pay period ending on or before 19 March 2020.

If you were not previously placed on furlough or you were employed or on after March 2020, the reference period for working out a claim under the CJRS should be the contracted hours worked in the last pay period ending on or before 30 October 2020 (only applicable for claims after 1 November).

If your employer first submitted a PAYE RTI submission for you between 31 October 2020 and 2 March 2021 then you can be placed on furlough from 1 May. The government has yet to details of how to calculate the relevant reference period. Further updates can be found on Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Your employer will need to undertake a calendar lookback in order to calculate 80% of your wages from the corresponding calendar period in a previous year. The reference period your employer will need to look at will depend on the period your employer is claiming for. The table below illustrates this:

Claim month

Lookback period

November 2020

November 2019

December 2020

December 2019

January 2021

January 2020

February 2021

February 2020

March 2021

March 2019

April 2021

April 2019

May 2021

May 2021

It should be noted that the look back periods could cause unintended complexities in the way in which some calculations for the purpose of furlough pay are made. For example, some workers on furlough may not receive the benefit of any pay rises they are entitled to because the calculations could be based on data that is two years old.

If you did not undertake any work for the lookback period, then your employer should only use the averaging method to calculate 80% of your wages.

For those periods on or after 1 May 2021, the government will provide updated guidance in due course. The updated guidance will be available on Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

For those whose pay varies, such as supply teachers, who were employed before March 2020, the ‘reference pay’ is calculated at 80% of the ‘usual hours’, which are either the highest of:

  • the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020; or

  • the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020 (e.g. July 2019 or August 2019).

For those on variable hours and pay who were not previously furloughed or employed on or after 20 March 2020, ‘usual hours’ are calculated on the average of the 2020/2021 tax year. This the average hours worked between:

  • the start date of the 2020 to 2021 tax year, (e.g. 6 April 2020);

  • the day before the furlough extension period begins.

For example, if your pay varies and you were not previously furloughed, the level of grant received would be 80% of the average salary payable between the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before the furlough extension period starts.

In working out the ‘usual hours’, items such as annual leave and overtime are included.

Is it still possible to be flexibly furloughed?

Under the extended CJRS, it is still possible for a supply teacher to work for some of the week and be furloughed for the rest, with the employer claiming a grant proportional to the hours not worked.

Employees and employers will be able to vary the agreement to work. For example, an employee may work three days one week and one day the following week or they could be fully furloughed for a week and work four days the following week.

How will I be paid if I am on flexible furlough?

Flexible furlough will continue to apply until September 2021 and you should expect to receive your 80% of your usual wage.

The employer will need to determine how much to claim for you as a grant and how to pay you as the employer. This will depend on whether or not you have previously been subject to furlough.

An employer reports the hours worked as well as the hours not worked and claims a pro rata amount of 80% based on the proportion of hours not worked out of your normal working hours. (‘Usual hours’ include any hours of paid leave at the full contractual rate and any hours worked as overtime, but only if the pay was non-discretionary.)

For example, if you work three days a week instead of five, you would receive 100% of your wage for the three days paid for by your employer and 80% of your wage for the two days claimed for by your employer as part of flexible furlough under the extended Job Retention Scheme.

Can I still be put on and off furlough by my employer?

Yes, your employer is still able to operate a rotating furlough for staff.

This will still need to be agreed with you and a written copy of the furlough agreement retained.

What is the minimum period I can be furloughed for?

The minimum claim period an employer can make is for seven consecutive days.

You can still be furloughed for longer, e.g. three weeks, depending on what you have agreed with your employer.

You are still able to be furloughed multiple times and each period could vary based on whether or not you are on flexible furlough.

Can I undertake any work while I am furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme?

Whilst furloughed by your employer, you are not able to undertake any work for that employer or any organisations linked to that employer.

However, there is nothing to prohibit you from undertaking work for another employer while furloughed with your current employer(s).

The Job Retention Scheme applies to each employer individually, so you could be in receipt of 100% of your wages from one employer, whilst in receipt of 80% of your wage from the employer that has furloughed them.

This is supported by advice from both HMRC and Acas which makes it clear that each job contract is treated separately.

The Union would advise that you check your contract carefully to see how you are employed and whether there are any restrictions on who you are able to work for.

If there are any such restrictions, it is advisable to discuss this with your employer to see if they are content to waive any such restrictions.

Can I still be placed on furlough if I was on a period of maternity leave?

Yes, you can still be placed on furlough if you are returning from a period of statutory maternity leave, including adoption leave, shared parental leave, paternity and parental bereavement leave, even if you are being placed on furlough for the first time.

The advice and guidance from the Government suggests that employees returning from maternity leave early must give the statutory eight weeks’ notice to end their maternity leave early in order to be placed on furlough and access payment under the CJRS.

Employees and employers may be able to agree shorter notice periods in certain circumstances.

It remains the case that the amount you receive is 80% of wages, capped at £2,500.

The Government has stated that the CJRS up until July 2021 will reflect the current position where employers were expected to pay employers’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and relevant pension contributions.

For claims made from July 2021 through to September 2021, whilst the amount received by eligible employees remains at 80% of wages, capped at £2,500, the way in which the payment is comprised changes. From July, the employer contribution towards the 80% paid under the CJRS will be 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.

It is important to note that any income received under the Job Retention Scheme is still subject to all statutory deductions, such as tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs), as well as any pension deductions as appropriate.

Under the Job Retention Scheme, there is nothing that prevents your employer from topping up the salary you receive to 100% of your normal pay and the NASUWT expects that all employers should do so.

The Government has also confirmed that the entire grant must be paid to the employee - no part of the Job Retention Scheme can be held back by the employer, e.g. deductions for fees, administration of the Scheme.

There are very strict rules around what can be deducted from an employee’s salary when they are on furlough. See the Government web page Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, it has been confirmed that the employer may be able to deduct any authorised salary deductions from the CJRS grant (e.g. if your furlough pay was incorrectly calculated and you received too much as an overpayment from the employer).

Members are advised to read their contract carefully and seek advice and information from the NASUWT urgently if they believe that their employer is seeking to deduct any fees from the grant it has received under the Job Retention Scheme which are not permissible.

Will the calculation for the relevant pay period be affected if I was on annual leave?

The advice and guidance states that a period of annual leave taken during the pay period prior to 19 March 2020 is ignored when calculating usual hours for the purposes of claiming the grant.

Will the calculation for the relevant pay period be affected if I was on sick leave?

The advice and guidance states that a period of sick leave taken during the pay period prior to March 2020 is ignored for the purposes of calculating usual hours when claiming the CJRS grant.

Will the calculation for the relevant pay period be affected if I was on family-related leave (e.g. maternity leave or paternity leave)?

A period of family-related leave taken during the pay period to March 2020 is ignored for the purposes of calculating usual hours when claiming the CJRS grant.

How does flexible furlough impact upon holiday pay?

As you are still employed during the period of flexible furlough, statutory holiday will accrue.

The statutory minimum holiday leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks per year will accrue, but the precise amount of holiday left will depend on how much holiday you have already taken.

You are able to take holiday whilst you are furloughed and this should be paid at your normal rate of pay or, where your pay varies, calculated on the average pay received in the previous 52 weeks.

The extended Job Retention Scheme does not change the fact that employers are obliged to pay any additional amounts in excess of the grant received under the Job Retention Scheme, although your employer has the flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken as well as requesting workers to take holiday, provided the employer engages with you to explain the reasons and gives the relevant notice period.

The reduction in the grant from the Government means that employers will be expected to contribute more to your normal rate of holiday pay.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has produced advice and guidance which outlines the situation for holiday pay during the Covid‑19 pandemic. It makes it clear that employers requesting someone takes leave during furlough must consider whether the person is under any restrictions that prevent them from resting, relaxing and enjoying their leisure time, i.e. self-isolating or social distancing.

For employees who do not usually work bank holidays, the expectation is that the employer either tops up the pay to the usual level received or gives a day of holiday in lieu.

The BEIS advice and guidance places an expectation on employers to provide adequate time for an employee to take their full annual leave entitlement throughout the year. However, it is clear that if it has not been reasonably practicable for an employee to take their annual leave for the relevant leave period, then the employee should be able to carry forward any unused annual leave into the following two years under emergency legislation introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This would include situations where the employer cannot afford to fund this at the full rate of pay whilst an employee is placed on furlough.

What happens if my employer argues that applying for the Job Retention Scheme will create delays in their ability to pay me?

Members are advised to read the details of any revised arrangement carefully, including if it contains reference to a deferred or conditional arrangement, whereby the employee commits to not receiving any pay under the CJRS grant until the grant has been received by the employer from HMRC.

The NASUWT does not believe that delays in the payment from the grant claimed by the employer is a justifiable reason to delay payments to employees.
 
Employers are expected to pay employees according to their contract of employment, i.e. weekly or monthly, which may mean the employer has to wait for the claim to come through from the extended Job Retention Scheme.

If employers need short-term cash flow support, they may be eligible for financial support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

If a trade union representative is furloughed, can they still undertake trade union duties and activities?

Government advice and guidance make it clear that you can still undertake trade union duties and activities if you are an NASUWT Representative who has been furloughed.

I have been furloughed. What impact will this have on my pension?

You will remain a member of your pension scheme during the time that you have been furloughed and both you and your employer should continue to pay pension contributions.

If your employer asks your consent to stop or reduce their contribution during the time that you are furloughed, please contact the NASUWT for advice before responding to any request.

What are my employment rights whilst I am furloughed?

Aside from the terms relating to pay, an employee who is furloughed retains all their existing contractual rights.

Can I be placed on furlough if I am shielding in line with public health guidance?

If you have been identified as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or are at the highest risk of severe illness from Covid-19, your employer can furlough you, provided you cannot work from home once you have declared yourself fit to return to work.

Furthermore, the Treasury Direction (paragraph 6.1) makes it clear that an employer can claim for an employee who is flexibly furloughed if they have been instructed by the employer not to work for the employer during a claim period, or not work their ‘usual hours’, and that this is because of circumstances arising as a result of the coronavirus disease or measures taken to prevent or limit its further transmission.

It is not necessary for an employer to be closed or face a reduction in demand in order to be eligible to claim for those who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or those who are at the highest risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

It should be noted that the advice and guidance on shielding is changing so that those who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will only be required to formally shield until 31 March. However, furlough is extended until September 2021, so, like other employees, the clinically extremely vulnerable can still be furloughed until then.

Furthermore, many restrictions apply to everyone including the clinically extremely vulnerable until June 2021 when social distancing may be relaxed.

Can I be furloughed if I have to stay at home to look after my children?

If you need to stay at home to look after young children in relation to the current coronavirus pandemic (e.g. due to a school closure), you can be considered for furlough under the CJRS, including if you had not previously been placed on furlough.

Can I be furloughed if I am off sick and in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

If you are signed off on long-term sick leave and in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), your employer can put you on furlough, provided that you are no longer in receipt of SSP.

If you are furloughed and become sick, there is nothing to stop your employer paying you at your furloughed rate provided this is at least the equivalent of SSP.

However, there is nothing that prevents your employer from topping up the salary you receive so it exceeds the 80% under the Job Retention Scheme.

Am I eligible to be furloughed if I was subject to a TUPE transfer prior to the Covid-19 pandemic?

The Government advice and guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) makes it clear that employees who have been subject to a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) can be furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

Members should seek advice and information from the NASUWT if they are in situation where they have been subject to a TUPE transfer after 19th March and their employer does not want to furlough them.

I have been furloughed by my employer but I am still being asked to undertake work. Is this correct?

No. This is completely unacceptable and indeed contrary to the provisions the Government has made regarding furlough and the grants that employers can receive to cover 80% of the teachers’ salary.

The basis for furlough and the receipt of Government funding is that the employee is not undertaking any work for their employer or any organisations linked to the employer.

I have received a letter from my employer asking me to defer 20% of my salary as a result of the current national crisis. What should I do?

As a matter of urgency, you should send a copy of your current contract and the letter you have received from your employer to the NASUWT advice line on:

The NASUWT will then assign you to a caseworker to give you further advice.

What your employer is proposing is a variation of your contract and they cannot do this without your consent. You are strongly advised not to agree to this variation and to take advice from the NASUWT on the next steps you need to take.

Some employers are seeking to secure the 80% payment for employees' salary from the Government Job Retention Scheme but then are not prepared to pay their employees the other 20%. It is not acceptable that teachers should be expected to take a cut in salary.

Members should be advised that deferral of pay will adversely affect your pension.

Can maintained/local authority schools, MATs and free schools apply for the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme?

The UK Government has no expectation that publicly funded organisations which are continuing to receive their public funding will need to apply for the Scheme.

Maintained/local authority schools, MATs and free schools are all continuing to receive their public funding and therefore have no reason to apply.

Since these employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the UK Government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff as usual.

Can an independent school apply for the Job Retention Scheme?

Generally, yes, but it does depend on how the school or provision at the school is normally funded.

Before taking this step, the school needs to explain to staff and to NASUWT Representatives why they believe that they will not continue to receive funding to enable them to retain their staff on their current contracts.

For example, can the school show that their cashflow has been interrupted by the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis? Are they able to demonstrate that parents are refusing to pay fees or are seeking reimbursement on fees?

If there is no change to their funding situation, they should not be seeking to furlough staff or cover costs from the Job Retention Scheme. However, if the circumstances demonstrate there is a case to place teachers in an independent school on furlough, the NASUWT expects teachers to receive 100% of their normal pay.

Some independent schools may be in receipt of public funding for some/all of their provision, including specifically to provide services necessary to respond to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) emergency.

Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the Government expects that independent schools use that money to continue to pay staff in the normal way and, in this case, should not furlough staff.

My employer is furloughing staff and will be receiving the 80% funding from the Job Retention Scheme, but has said that we will only receive 90% of our salary and has asked us to sign a contract accepting this. What should I do?

You have a statutory entitlement to receive your full salary.

If you have been furloughed, your employer will receive 80% of your salary (up to a cap of £2,500) from the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. Your employer should make up the difference to 100%, together with payment of National Insurance Contributions and employer pension contributions.

The Scheme is intended to avoid redundancies by alleviating the pressure on employers to continue paying wages in full during the crisis period. If the employer is saying that they will only pay 10% to you on top of what they will receive from the Government, they are in effect seeking to vary your contract. It is, therefore, essential that you make clear in writing to your employer that you do not accept this variation to your contract.

If your employer seeks to compel you to accept less than your full salary entitlement, then you must write to the employer stating that you are receiving the reduced salary under protest and that you reserve the right, at the appropriate time, to pursue all legal remedies available to you to recover the deducted salary.

If I am furloughed, what work can my employer expect from me?

A requirement of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme is that where an employee has been furloughed, they cannot be available for work and therefore you cannot be working, so an employer cannot ask a furloughed worker to carry on working.

Being furloughed is not the same as teachers being asked to work from home because schools have been repurposed to provide care.

I work in a multi-academy trust and my employer has said that they intend to furlough staff and claim money from the Government Job Retention Scheme. Can they do this?

The Government guidance on the Job Retention Scheme makes clear that they have no expectation that publicly funded organisations who are continuing to receive their public funding will access the Scheme.

Your MAT will be continuing to receive funding from the Government in the normal way. You should therefore not accept being furloughed.

My school has decided to push forward a TUPE transfer for groups of staff to a private company to then furlough staff. Can they do this?

This is an abuse of the TUPE transfer provisions. It is clear the employer is being opportunistic to try to cover staff salaries by manipulating the system and also misapplying the TUPE provisions.

TUPE requires full consultation with staff unless there are no measures proposed. It is clear in this scenario that there are measures and the employer is therefore not abiding by statutory provisions and can therefore be challenged.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension - supply teachers

Please read the note above on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in conjunction with these FAQs.

What changes have been made to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including the eligibility criteria following the March 2021 budget?

The Chancellor announced in the March 2021 budget that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) would be extended until September 2021. The extension of the scheme retains the vast majority of the aspects of the scheme as currently operated until July 2021, when employers will be asked to contribute more towards the cost of the wages of those who are on furlough.

Employers will still be expected to pay National Insurance and pension contributions in April, May and June, but from July, the employer contribution towards the 80% paid under the CJRS will be 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.

Whilst the extension of the CJRS is welcomed, as the scheme has now operated since March 2020, this extension could cause unintended complexities in the way in which some calculations for the purpose of furlough pay are made. For example, some workers on furlough may not receive the benefit of any pay rises they are entitled to because the calculations could be based on data that is two years old.

Under the previous CJRS operating until March 2021, employers could only claim for employees, including supply teachers as agency workers, who were employed on 30 October, provided the employer has made a PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, unless the employer re-employed an employee after 23 September 2020.

For periods ending on or before 30 April 2021, employers can claim for employees provided they were employed on 30 October 2020 and the employer has made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between the 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee, unless the employer re-employed an employee after 23 September 2020. The employer does not need to have previously claimed for an employee before the 30 October 2020 to claim.

For claim periods starting on or after 1 May 2021, employers are able to include employees that were previously not eligible due to RTI submissions being sent after 30 October 2020. Government guidance now states that all employees who have had a PAYE RTI submission made for them between 20 March 2020 and 2 March 2021 are now eligible to be included in a CJRS claim from May 2021. The employer does not to have previously claimed for an employee before 2 March 2021 to claim for periods starting on or after 1 May 2021.

You should check this carefully in order to establish whether you are eligible to be put on furlough. If you were not on the payroll, then you will not be eligible to be furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme, but you may be eligible for other state benefits.

The Union has provided advice and guidance on claiming Social Security Benefits During the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Under the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, can I still be furloughed as a supply teacher?

The Government advice and guidance for the extended CJRS makes it clear that employers can still claim for supply teachers, including during school holiday periods provided they meet the usual eligibility criteria:

‘Supply teachers are eligible for the scheme in the same way as other employees and can continue to be claimed for during school holiday periods provided that the usual eligibility criteria are met.’

However, it is important to recognise that, under the provisions of the CJRS, it is for the employer to decide whether or not to make a claim and furlough an eligible employee, including supply teachers as agency workers.

The Union has been made aware of some agencies and/or umbrella companies seeking to impose additional eligibility criteria to possibly restrict or limit the number of supply teachers who may be eligible to be placed on furlough.

The NASUWT wants to hear from supply teachers where this is the case.

Please contact us by following the link to the agency reporting form for England or Wales which can be found on our Supply Agencies - Your Experiences page.

Please ensure you provide the following details:

  • your full name;
  • your membership number (or date of birth and postcode if you cannot locate it);
  • a copy of the assignment details from the school and/or supply agency.

As a supply teacher, can I undertake any work while I am furloughed?

As per the previous CJRS, whilst furloughed by an agency, you are not able to undertake any work for that employer/agency, including undertaking or continuing other assignments at different schools that are the clients of the agency.

However, a number of supply teachers are signed up with and work for a number of different supply agencies.

As these are each separate agencies/employers with separate PAYE reference numbers, there is nothing to stop you working for one agency/employer while furloughed with another.

In addition, there is nothing to stop a supply teacher approaching a school directly about any available work while they are furloughed, provided they are not clients (e.g. schools) of the agency that has furloughed them.

As a supply teacher, can I be placed on furlough if I am shielding in line with advice from UK public health authorities?

As a supply teacher, if you are clinically extremely vulnerable or are at the highest risk of severe illness from Covid-19, it is possible for you to be furloughed, provided you cannot work from home once you have declared yourself fit to return to work, even if you were not previously eligible or placed on furlough under the original CJRS.

The Government advice and guidance for the extended CJRS makes it clear that employers can still claim for supply teachers, including during school holiday periods provided they meet the usual eligibility criteria:

‘Supply teachers are eligible for the scheme in the same way as other employees and can continue to be claimed for during school holiday periods provided that the usual eligibility criteria are met.’

It is not necessary for an employer to be closed or face a reduction in demand in order to be eligible to claim for those who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or those who are at the highest risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

The Union maintains that it is entirely consistent with the CJRS for supply agencies to furlough supply teachers in circumstances where they are unable to work, including those where a school has advised a supply teacher not to attend to undertake an assignment because they are clinically extremely vulnerable.

The NASUWT wants to hear from supply teachers where this is not the case.

Please contact us by following the link to the agency reporting form for England or Wales which can be found on our Supply Agencies - Your Experiences page.

Please ensure you provide the following details:

  • your full name;
  • your membership number (or date of birth and postcode if you cannot locate it);
  • a copy of the assignment details from the school and/or supply agency.

It should be noted that the advice and guidance on shielding is changing so that those who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will only be required to formally shield until 31 March. However, furlough is extended until September 2021 so, like other employees, the clinically extremely vulnerable can still be furloughed until then.

Furthermore, many restrictions apply to everyone including the clinically extremely vulnerable until June 2021 when social distancing may be relaxed.

Can I go direct to schools for work if I am furloughed? (Supply)

It is still the case that a worker who is furloughed cannot work through that agency, including the agency’s clients.

However, there is nothing stopping a supply teacher from making contact directly with schools for which they have never worked, asking them about any work that might be available.

Is it still possible to be flexibly furloughed?

Under the extended CJRS, it is still possible for a supply teacher to work for some of the week and be furloughed for the rest, with the employer claiming a grant proportional to the hours not worked.

Employees and employers will be able to vary the agreement to work. For example, an employee may work three days one week and one day the following week or they could be fully furloughed for a week and work four days the following week.

Does my employer still have to provide something in writing in respect of the extended furlough scheme? (Supply)

It is still the case that your employer is required to confirm the details of the new arrangement they have agreed with you in writing, irrespective of the working arrangement you are on (e.g. furlough of flexible furlough).

It is good practice for the employer to include the following details in the flexible furlough agreement:

  • the date furlough starts;
  • the days or hours worked;
  • the days or hours not worked (furlough);
  • how much you will be paid; and
  • when it will be reviewed.

The employer has to retain any information for a period of five years, as well as retaining information detailing the number of hours employees work and how many hours employees are furloughed, together with the details of the amount claimed and the relevant calculations for six years.

If the work you undertake varies, it is still the case that you may have to enter into a flexible furlough arrangement more than once.

Members are advised to read the details of any revised arrangement carefully, including if it contains reference to a deferred or conditional arrangement, whereby the employee commits to not receiving any pay under the CJRS grant until the grant has been received by the employer from HMRC.

The NASUWT does not believe that delays in the payment from the grant claimed by the employer is a justifiable reason to delay payments to employees.
 
Employers are expected to pay employees according to their contract of employment, i.e. weekly or monthly, which may mean the employer has to wait for the claim to come through from the extended Job Retention Scheme.

If employers need short-term cash flow support, they may be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme until the employer is reimbursed by the Government.

Has the minimum furlough period changed under the extended Job Retention Scheme? (Supply)

It is still the case that the minimum claim period an employer can make is for seven consecutive days.

You can still be furloughed for longer, e.g. three weeks, depending on what you have agreed with your employer.

You are still able to be furloughed multiple times and each period could vary based on whether or not you are on flexible furlough.

Does my employer still claim in the same way? (Supply)

Employers are still expected to make claims for the CJRS grant within the same calendar month, including situations where the claim period is different to the pay period as the pay period straddles different calendar months.

In such circumstances, separate claims would have to be made by the employer which could impact on the amount you are paid and when you receive payment, although employers are expected to try to match claims with their payroll.

Your employer can still have you on longer furlough periods if appropriate; it is just the claim period that has altered to start and end within the same calendar month.

The employer is able to make claims in advance, although this might be more complicated in a situation where an employee is on flexible furlough with variable working hours.

However, employers now have a shorter window in which to make CJRS claims so that the previous month’s claim must be made by the 14th day of the following month.

What payment will I receive under the extended Job Retention Scheme if I am furloughed? (Supply)

Your employer will need to establish the relevant reference period in order to establish how to calculate your pay accordingly, as the different versions of the CJRS operate different reference periods.

For those whose pay varies, such as supply teachers, who were employed before March 2020, the ‘reference pay’ is calculated at 80% of the ‘usual hours’, which are either the highest of:

  • the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020; or

  • the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020 (e.g. July 2019 or August 2019).

For those on variable hours and pay who were not previously furloughed or employed on or after 20 March 2020, ‘usual hours’ are calculated on the average of the 2020/2021 tax year. This the average hours worked between:

  • the start date of the 2020 to 2021 tax year, (e.g. 6 April 2020);

  • the day before the furlough extension period begins.

For example, if your pay varies and you were not previously furloughed, the level of grant received would be 80% of the average salary payable between the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before the furlough extension period starts.

What level of pay will I receive if I work through an umbrella company?

The NASUWT is aware that there are concerns about the level of remuneration that a supply teacher may receive based on their contract with the umbrella company.

For example, some supply teachers working through an umbrella company may receive a significant proportion of their income paid as a bonus scheme and the rest paid at National Minimum Wage (NMW). This is often done in order to limit the liability of the umbrella company.

In some cases, depending on the nature of the contract, this may result in some supply teachers receiving just 80% of the NMW if they are furloughed.

However, there is nothing that prevents your umbrella company from topping up the salary you will receive so it exceeds the 80% under the Job Retention Scheme.

Who is responsible for furloughing me? Is it the agency or the umbrella company?

Under the Job Retention Scheme, it is the organisation that you receive your PAYE payments from. They should make the claim and pass this on to you.

The organisation must provide its PAYE reference number to HMRC when it makes a claim.

For a number of supply teachers, the umbrella company will be the organisation that pays them. In this situation, the umbrella company would be the correct body to make the claim.

Can the agency decide who it furloughs?

The NASUWT recognises that there are questions regarding who an agency may decide to furlough.

Some of the bigger agencies are not just education-specific, so it may be the case that they decide to furlough one category of worker and not others.

For those who are education-specific, it may still be the case that there is work available for some supply teachers. There must be a fair selection process that does not discriminate against particular groups of workers who are protected by equality law, either directly or indirectly.

The Union would expect that all supply teachers not working through an agency are furloughed in accordance with the Job Retention Scheme.

However, it appears that some agencies and/or umbrella companies seeking to impose additional eligibility criteria to possibly restrict or limit the number of supply teachers who may be eligible to be placed on furlough.

The NASUWT wants to hear from supply teachers where this is the case.

Please contact us by following the link to the agency reporting form for England or Wales which can be found on our Supply Agencies - Your Experiences page.

Please ensure you provide the following details:

  • your full name;
  • your membership number (or date of birth and postcode if you cannot locate it);
  • a copy of the assignment details from the school and/or supply agency.

What happens if an agency and/or umbrella company does not use the extended Job Retention Scheme to furlough its supply teachers?

The employer/agency must want to apply for the Job Retention Scheme in order to claim the grant available for furloughed workers. Unfortunately, they cannot be compelled to do this.

The Union is aware that the increased employers’ costs towards the CJRS (e.g. National Insurance and pension contributions) have resulted in a number of supply agencies and/or umbrella companies stating that they cannot place supply teachers on furlough.

However, eligible supply teachers may still wish to enquire with their agency and/or umbrella company as to the possibility of being placed on furlough under the CJRS, particularly if the relevant period for the calculation of a furlough payment suggests that there are no National Insurance or pension contributions that the agency and/or umbrella company would be required to pay as part of any CJRS claim. Further information is available on the Government's National insurance rates and categories web page.

The agency and/or umbrella company should be reminded that they are the gatekeepers to the CJRS, and, as such, they should look to do whatever possible and take all reasonable steps to furlough eligible supply teachers.

The NASUWT believes that the Government should provide appropriate financial support through a grant or rebate for employment businesses who continue to use the CJRS and furlough supply teachers.

The Union has written to Ministers highlighting the situation for supply teachers, calling upon governments to urgently put in place appropriate financial support measures for supply teachers, including a letter in conjunction with the AEP, GMB, NAHT, NEU, Prospect and UNISON.

Details of the letters are available on our Covid-19 Campaign for Supply Teachers page.

Furthermore, the Union has produced a template letter for members to send to their MP to highlight the need to amend the extended Job Retention Scheme to better protect supply teachers at this time.

Details of this are available on our Supply Justice campaign page.

As a supply teacher, can I be furloughed from more than one agency?

A number of supply teachers are signed up and work for a number of different supply agencies.

The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations (2003) make it clear that an agency cannot prevent a supply teacher from working somewhere else (e.g. another agency) or ending their employment with the agency to work with someone else.

In theory, as each agency represents a separate contract, with separate PAYE reference, you may be eligible to be furloughed from one agency whilst working for another, or, you may be able to be furloughed from each of the agencies you are signed up with, provided you undertake no work for any of them whilst you are furloughed, or their clients, e.g. schools.

The Job Retention Scheme applies to each employer/agency individually, so a supply teacher could be in receipt of 100% of their wages by continuing to work through one agency, whilst in receipt of 80% of their wage from an agency that has furloughed them.

The Union would advise that supply teachers check their contracts carefully to see how they are employed and if there are any restrictions on who they are able to work for.

If there are any such restrictions, it is advisable to discuss this with your employer/agency to see if they are content to waiver any such restrictions.

Can I be furloughed if I do supply work directly for a local authority school?

The UK Government has no expectation that publicly funded organisations which are continuing to receive their public funding will need to apply for the Scheme.

Maintained/local authority schools, multi-academy trusts and free schools are all continuing to receive their public funding and therefore have no reason to apply.

Since these employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the UK Government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff as usual.

As a consequence, staff may not be eligible to be furloughed, including supply teachers undertaking supply work directly with a state-funded school.

The Union is aware of a number of local authority schools, academies and multi-academy trusts who have committed to continue to pay supply teachers who were already budgeted for.

The latest advice and guidance from the DfE sets out the general principles that state-funded schools should follow if you work directly for a local authority school.

This can be found on the DfE web page Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children's social care.

This states that supply teachers on a live assignment should continue to be paid from the existing budget of the school.

For supply teachers who have had their assignments terminated earlier than the original terms stipulated, the guidance from the DfE is that you should be reinstated on the original terms of your contract, provided that you are not already accessing alternative support from the government. 

For supply teachers employed on a casual or ad hoc basis, schools can continue to engage them as and when required and pay them as normal from existing budgets.

If schools had budgeted for casual or ad hoc supply work which is no longer needed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools are encouraged to pay a supply teacher at 80% of their typical pay, calculated by reviewing the average days or hours worked over the previous 12 weeks (or as many weeks as the supply teacher had been on assignment) to determine the average days or hours worked. This average should be used to underpin the calculation of 80% gross pay (up to a £2,500 monthly cap) limited to the amount originally budgeted for by the school for supply staff.

Whilst this guidance is not mandatory, correspondence from the DfE makes it clear that it expects that schools should make these payments unless there are legitimate reasons not to.

Can I be furloughed if I do supply work directly for an academy or multi-academy trust?

The UK Government has no expectation that publicly funded organisations which are continuing to receive their public funding will need to apply for the Scheme.

Maintained/local authority schools, multi-academy trusts and free schools are all continuing to receive their public funding and therefore have no reason to apply.

Since these employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the UK Government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff as usual.

As a consequence, staff may not be eligible to be furloughed, including supply teachers undertaking supply work directly with a state-funded school.

The Union maintains that supply teachers, particularly those on long-term placements should continue to be paid in full until the end of the placement. Once this has finished, you should ask to be furloughed if there is no further work available.

The NASUWT is aware of a number of local authority schools, academies and multi-academy trusts who have committed to continue to pay supply teachers who were already budgeted for.

The latest advice and guidance from the DfE sets out the general principles that state-funded schools should follow if you work directly for an academy or multi-academy trust.

This can be found on the DfE web page Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children's social care.

This states that supply teachers on a live assignment should continue to be paid from the existing budget of the school.

For supply teachers who have had their assignments terminated earlier than the original terms stipulated, the guidance from the DfE is that you should be reinstated on the original terms of your contract, provided that you are not already accessing alternative support from the Government. 

For supply teachers employed on a casual or ad hoc basis, schools can continue to engage them as and when required and pay them as normal from existing budgets.

If schools had budgeted for casual or ad hoc supply work which is no longer needed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools are encouraged to pay a supply teacher at 80% of their typical pay, calculated by reviewing the average days or hours worked over the previous 12 weeks (or as many weeks as the supply teacher had been on assignment) to determine the average days or hours worked. This average should be used to underpin the calculation of 80% gross pay (up to a £2,500 monthly cap) limited to the amount originally budgeted for by the school for supply staff.

Whilst this guidance is not mandatory, correspondence from the DfE makes it clear that it expects that schools should make these payments unless there are legitimate reasons not to.

What happens if I get supply work through the local authority?

It is unclear whether local authorities who maintain supply pools can access the Job Retention Scheme and furlough supply teachers.

The NASUWT maintains that supply teachers should be able to continue assignments that would have been continued had it not been for the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Union maintains that supply teachers, particularly those on long-term placements should continue to be paid in full until the end of the placement. Once this has finished, you should ask to be furloughed if there is no further work available.

The latest advice and guidance from the DfE sets out the general principles that state-funded schools should follow if you work through directly for a local authority school.

This can be found on the DfE web page Coronavirus (COVID-19): financial support for education, early years and children's social care.

This states that supply teachers directly employed on a live assignment should continue to be paid from the existing budget of the school.

For supply teachers who have had their assignments terminated earlier than the original terms stipulated, the guidance from the DfE is that you should be reinstated on the original terms of your contract, provided that you are not already accessing alternative support from the Government. 

This states that supply teachers on a live assignment should continue to be paid from the existing budget of the school.

For supply teachers who have had their assignments terminated earlier than the original terms stipulated, the guidance from the DfE is that you should be reinstated on the original terms of your contract, provided that you are not already accessing alternative support from the Government. 

For supply teachers employed on a casual or ad hoc basis, schools can continue to engage them as and when required and pay them as normal from existing budgets.

If schools had budgeted for casual or ad hoc supply work which is no longer needed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools are encouraged to pay a supply teacher at 80% of their typical pay, calculated by reviewing the average days or hours worked over the previous 12 weeks (or as many weeks as the supply teacher had been on assignment) to determine the average days or hours worked. This average should be used to underpin the calculation of 80% gross pay (up to a £2,500 monthly cap) limited to the amount originally budgeted for by the school for supply staff.

Whilst this guidance is not mandatory, correspondence from the DfE makes it clear that it expects that schools should make these payments unless there are legitimate reasons not to.

Can I be furloughed if I do supply work directly for an independent school?

Generally, yes, but it does depend on how the school or provision at the school is normally funded.

Some independent schools may be in receipt of public funding for some/all of their provision, including specifically to provide services necessary to respond to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) emergency.

Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the Government expects that independent schools use that money to continue to pay staff in the normal way and, in this case, should not furlough staff, including supply teachers.

What happens if I have been on a long-term assignment in excess of 12 weeks?

If you have been on an assignment in excess of 12 weeks, then under the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR), you are eligible to be paid in the same way as directly employed staff.

If you have worked on the same assignment in the same job with the same hirer for at least 12 weeks, you are entitled to equal treatment in relation to your basic working conditions as if you had been employed directly by the hirer to do the same job.

There is an argument that if a comparable employee is continuing to be employed and paid as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, then a supply teacher may also be entitled to continue to be paid in the same way.

What happens if the school I was working at cancels my current assignment?

Maintained/local authority schools, multi-academy trusts and free schools are all continuing to receive their public funding and therefore have no reason to apply.

Since these employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the UK Government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff as usual, including supply teachers who were budgeted for until the end of their assignment - whether directly employed or employed through an agency.

The NASUWT is aware of a number of local authority schools, academies and multi-academy trusts who have committed to continue to pay supply teachers who were already budgeted for.

The Union maintains that supply teachers, particularly those on long term placements should continue to be paid in full until the end of the placement. Once this has finished, you should ask to be furloughed if there is no further work available.

Whilst this guidance is not mandatory, correspondence from the DfE makes it clear that it expects that schools should make these payments unless there are legitimate reasons not to.

The Union wants to hear from supply teachers if this is not the case.

Please email the Recruitment Team with the following information:

  • your full name;
  • your membership number (or your date of birth and postcode if you cannot locate it);
  • a copy of the assignment details from the school and/or supply agency confirming the length of the assignment.

What happens if a planned assignment is cancelled?

If you had a planned assignment to work in a school booked through an agency which has now been cancelled, you should ask to be put on furlough if there is no other work available or re-engaged/rehired and then put on furlough.

However, as maintained/local authority schools, multi-academy trusts and free schools are all continuing to receive their public funding and have no reason to apply to utilise the Job Retention Scheme, you may want to ask the school and the agency to reinstate the contract and continue to pay you as a public sector key worker.

Since these employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, the UK Government expects employers to use that money to continue to pay staff as usual, including supply teachers who were budgeted for until the end of their assignment - whether directly employed or employed through an agency.

The Union wants to hear from supply teachers if this is not the case.

Please email the Recruitment Team with the following information:

  • your full name;
  • your membership number (or date of birth and postcode if you cannot locate it);
  • a copy of the assignment details from the school and/or supply agency confirming the length of the assignment.

What payment will I receive under the extended Job Retention Scheme if I am furloughed?

Your employer will need to establish the relevant reference period in order to establish how to calculate your pay accordingly, as the different versions of the CJRS operate different reference periods.

In addition, it should be noted that the reference periods vary depending on whether or not you are on fixed or variable hours, such as supply teachers.

If you were previously furloughed under the CJRS before the end of October 2020 then your employer should calculate your furlough payment according to the same calculations for calculating reference pay and usual hours as previously used for the CJRS.

If you were on fixed hours and on the payroll before 20 March 2020, the reference period for working out a claim under the CJRS should be the hours in the last pay period ending on or before 19 March 2020.

If you were not previously placed on furlough or you were employed or on after March 2020, the reference period for working out a claim under the CJRS should be the contracted hours worked in the last pay period ending on or before 30 October 2020 (only applicable for claims after 1 November).

If your employer first submitted a PAYE RTI submission for you between 31 October 2020 and 2 March 2021 then you can be placed on furlough from 1 May. The government has yet to details of how to calculate the relevant reference period. Further updates can be found on Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Your employer will need to undertake a calendar lookback in order to calculate 80% of your wages from the corresponding calendar period in a previous year. The reference period your employer will need to look at will depend on the period your employer is claiming for. The table below illustrates this:

Claim month

Lookback period

November 2020

November 2019

December 2020

December 2019

January 2021

January 2020

February 2021

February 2020

March 2021

March 2019

April 2021

April 2019

May 2021

May 2021

It should be noted that the look back periods could cause unintended complexities in the way in which some calculations for the purpose of furlough pay are made. For example, some workers on furlough may not receive the benefit of any pay rises they are entitled to because the calculations could be based on data that is two years old.

If you did not undertake any work for the lookback period, then your employer should only use the averaging method to calculate 80% of your wages.

For those periods on or after 1 May 2021, the government will provide updated guidance in due course. The updated guidance will be available on Calculate how much you can claim using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

For those whose pay varies, such as supply teachers, who were employed before March 2020, the ‘reference pay’ is calculated at 80% of the ‘usual hours’, which are either the highest of:

  • the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020; or

  • the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020 (e.g. July 2019 or August 2019).

For those on variable hours and pay who were not previously furloughed or employed on or after 20 March 2020, ‘usual hours’ are calculated on the average of the 2020/2021 tax year. This the average hours worked between:

  • the start date of the 2020 to 2021 tax year, (e.g. 6 April 2020);

  • the day before the furlough extension period begins.

For example, if your pay varies and you were not previously furloughed, the level of grant received would be 80% of the average salary payable between the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before the furlough extension period starts.

In working out the ‘usual hours’, items such as annual leave and overtime are included.

What if am on flexible furlough under the extended Job Retention Scheme if I am furloughed?

Flexible furlough will continue to apply until September 2021 and you should expect to receive your 80% of your usual wage.

The employer will need to determine how much to claim for you as a grant and how to pay you as the employer. This will depend on whether or not you have previously subject to furlough.

For those whose pay varies, such as supply teachers, who were employed before March 2020, the ‘reference pay’ is calculated at 80% of the ‘usual hours’, which are either the highest of:

  • the average number of hours worked in the tax year 2019 to 2020; or

  • the corresponding calendar period in the tax year 2019 to 2020 (e.g. July 2019 or August 2019).

For those on variable hours and pay who were not previously furloughed or employed on or after 20 March 2020, ‘usual hours’ are calculated on the average of the 2020/2021 tax year. This the average hours worked between:

  • the start date of the 2020 to 2021 tax year, (e.g. 6 April 2020);

  • the day before the furlough extension period begins.

For example, if your pay varies and you were not previously furloughed, the level of grant received would be 80% of the average salary payable between the start date of their employment or 6 April 2020 (whichever is later) and the day before the furlough extension period starts.

Irrespective, it is still the case that the employer reports the hours worked as well as the hours not worked and claims a pro rata amount of 80% based on the proportion of hours not worked out of your normal working hours. (‘Usual hours’ include any hours of paid leave at the full contractual rate and any hours worked as overtime, but only if the pay was non-discretionary.

Can I still be put on and off furlough by my employer?

Yes, your employer is still able to operate a rotating furlough for staff.

This will still need to be agreed with you and a written copy of the furlough agreement retained.

Will the calculation for the relevant pay period be affected if I was on annual leave?

The advice and guidance states that a period of annual leave taken during the pay period prior to 19 March 2020 is ignored when calculating usual hours for the purposes of claiming the grant.

Will the calculation for the relevant pay period be affected if I was on sick leave?

The advice and guidance states that a period of sick leave taken during the pay period prior to March 2020 is ignored for the purposes of calculating usual hours when claiming the CJRS grant.

Will the calculation for the relevant pay period be affected if I was on family-related leave (e.g. maternity leave or paternity leave)?

A period of family-related leave taken during the pay period to March 2020 is ignored for the purposes of calculating usual hours when claiming the CJRS grant.

Can I still be placed on furlough if I was on a period of maternity leave?

Yes, you can still be placed on furlough if you are returning from a period of statutory maternity leave, including adoption leave, shared parental leave, paternity and parental bereavement leave, even if you are being placed on furlough for the first time.

The advice and guidance from the Government suggests that employees returning from maternity leave early must give the statutory eight weeks’ notice to end their maternity leave early in order to be placed on furlough and access payment under the CJRS.

Employees and employers may be able to agree shorter notice periods in certain circumstances.

It remains the case that the amount you receive is 80% of wages, capped at £2,500.

The Government has stated that the CJRS up until July 2021 will reflect the current position where employers were expected to pay employers’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and relevant pension contributions.

For claims made from July 2021 through to September 2021, whilst the amount received by eligible employees remains at 80% of wages, capped at £2,500, the way in which the payment is comprised changes. From July, the employer contribution towards the 80% paid under the CJRS will be 10% in July, 20% in August and 20% in September.

It is important to note that any income received under the Job Retention Scheme is still subject to all statutory deductions, such as tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs), as well as any pension deductions as appropriate.

Under the Job Retention Scheme, there is nothing that prevents your employer from topping up the salary you receive to 100% of your normal pay and the NASUWT expects that all employers should do so.

The Government has also confirmed that the entire grant must be paid to the employee - no part of the Job Retention Scheme can be held back by the employer, e.g. deductions for fees, administration of the Scheme.

There are very strict rules around what can be deducted from an employee’s salary when they are on furlough. See the Government web page Extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. However, it has been confirmed that the employer may be able to deduct any authorised salary deductions from the CJRS grant (e.g. if your furlough pay was incorrectly calculated and you received too much as an overpayment from the employer).

Members are advised to read their contract carefully and seek advice and information from the NASUWT urgently if they believe that their employer is seeking to deduct any fees from the grant it has received under the Job Retention Scheme which are not permissible.

Are there any changes that impact upon holiday pay? (Supply)

The extended CJRS advice and guidance references the fact that an employee is still employed during the period of furlough, and, as such, statutory holiday will accrue.

However, for supply teachers as agency workers, the situation in respect of the accrual of holiday pay whilst on furlough is dependent on the nature of the employment contract.

For example, a supply teacher engaged on a contract of employment continues to accrue holiday pay whilst on furlough, whereas a supply teacher engaged on a contract for services may not be entitled to the accrual of holiday or take holiday while on furlough under the Working Time Regulations.

It is therefore important that supply teachers carefully consider the nature of their contract as it may contain provisions which mean that holiday pay continues to accrue.

In addition, supply teachers should consider the way in which your agency operates its annual leave. It may align with the calendar year, the financial year, the academic year, or the anniversary of when you started working with the agency.

As a supply teacher, am I still eligible to be furloughed under the Job Retention Scheme for periods which include school holidays?

The Job Retention Scheme is intended to provide a grant to employers so that they can provide financial assistance to employees, including supply teachers as agency workers.

This was reinforced by a response to a question raised in Parliament about the eligibility of supply teachers to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the school summer holiday period. The Treasury stated:

‘Agency supply teachers are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the school summer holiday period, where they are otherwise eligible for the Scheme.’

Furthermore, Government advice and guidance for the extended CJRS continues to reference the fact that employers can still claim for supply teachers during school holiday periods provided they meet the usual eligibility criteria:

‘Supply teachers are eligible for the scheme in the same way as other employees and can continue to be claimed for during school holiday periods provided that the usual eligibility criteria are met.’