Following the recent announcement of the new lockdowns across the UK and the closure of schools, there will be many employees who are, again, struggling to juggle the demands of work and home schooling their children.

HMRC has updated its guidance for employers as well as its guidance for employees on which employees can be put on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which is currently due to run until 30 April 2021. The updated guidance provides that employers can furlough employees if they are unable to work, including from home or working reduced hours because they:

  • Are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance.
  • Have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus, such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household.

The key eligibility criteria remains whereby you can only put an employee on furlough as long as they were employed by you on or before 30 October 2020.

This updated guidance makes the position clear and will be welcome confirmation for employers and employees, although employers will need to think carefully about ensuring sufficient coverage for their business when making decisions on furloughing employees.

For more assistance please contact Donal Laverty, Consulting Partner E: or Tel: 028 9032 3466.