In an update to the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme rules, HMRC has now spelled out that individuals on the payroll of a company on 28 February, who then left to work somewhere else can be added back on to the payroll and furloughed.
Martin Lewis, founder of the consumer rights website Moneysavingexpert.com, campaigned for the government to update the rules.
HMRC told Lewis there was nothing in the original rules that prevented companies rehiring workers so they could be furloughed.
But without specific guidance on this point in the rules, employers were claiming it could not be done. Following the campaign, HMRC said it will update the scheme’s guidelines.
To furlough employees, which means to put staff on temporarily leave, they must have been on the payroll before 28 February.
This means workers who left one job for another weeks before the government’s social distancing rules ground many businesses to halt were missing out on the government’s bailout package.
Under the job retention scheme, to stop employees from losing their jobs the government has pledged to pay 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 a month if employers ask them to stay at home.