Furlough Eligibility – shielding and clinically vulnerable employees
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Scheme) has been extended to 30 April 2021. HM Revenue & Customs have recently updated their guidance (yet again) to confirm that employers may legitimately place employees who have been affected by COVID-19 (or any other conditions) on furlough.
The guidance provides that, as well as employees who have caring responsibilities resulting from COVID-19 (such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school closures), employees can be furloughed if they are unable to work because they are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus, and following public health guidance.
Accordingly, employers may choose to furlough employees who have been told to shield or are clinically extremely vulnerable. Those employees will receive furlough pay instead of Statutory Sick Pay.
However, employers should keep in mind that, whilst it is permissible to claim through both the Scheme and the Statutory Sick Pay rebate scheme in respect of the same employee, they cannot make a claim for the same employee in both schemes in respect of the same period of time.