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Government urged to provide immediate clarity to employers regarding furlough and self isolation rules

Government urged to provide immediate clarity to employers regarding furlough and self isolation rules

Multi-Award-Winning People Consultancy, Talk Staff, is today calling on the government to provide urgent clarity to businesses regarding furlough rules for employees that are self-isolating, or risk catastrophic consequences for businesses across the UK.


With the formal ‘work from home’ mandate ending 19 July 2021, along with the vast majority of COVID restrictions, it is predicted furlough will come to an end for millions of workers across the UK prompting a mass return to offices and workplaces for those unable to work effectively from home. 

With cases currently averaging 30,000+ per day, and 350,000+ notifications* being sent out via Test and Trace, there is already large-scale workplace disruption. But with cases currently doubling every 9 days, there is widespread acceptance amongst scientists that cases will hit highs not previously seen during the course of the pandemic. Without urgent clarity issued to employers, many are likely to fall foul of misusing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) funds provided by HMRC.

Gary Parsons, Managing Director of Talk Staff comments:

“I urge the government to provide urgent and clear guidance to businesses in the UK regarding furlough and self isolation rules for employees returning back to work from furlough after 19 July 2021.

“We will see widespread return to workplaces, particularly in those sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 restrictions. Many of these employees when they return back to work from furlough will then be ‘pinged’ from the NHS COVID-19 App and the wide-reaching self-isolation rules during a month of misery that won’t end until 16 August at the earliest.

“The natural and obvious inclination from employers at this point would be to return affected employees back to the furlough. But the government themselves features confusing and conflicting guidance on whether this is allowed within the scope of the CJRS.

“Ultimately this means any employers moving individuals back to furlough at this point face a potential misuse of the furlough rules and the possibility of a financially crippling HMRC investigation that many businesses simply wouldn’t be able to survive.

“If affected individuals are being told to go home and isolate, then they will have to isolate up to 10 days with just statutory sick pay - which is nearly 75% less than the National Minimum Wage for workers aged 23 and over**. This discrepancy will clearly and disproportionately affect hard working, low income families the most. It is clear that furlough is going to be something employees will be pressing their employers for too, further cementing the immediacy and urgency of the situation.

“Many workplaces and offices have been effectively closed owing to COVID restrictions and furlough. Unless there is urgent intervention from the government, millions of workers will be isolating between now and 16 August. These are workplaces that are able to do daily testing and be under supervision of test and trace, which in itself would reduce the risk for employers who are in a state of uncertainty and confusion of how to balance the health risk to their employee and the financial risk to their businesses.”

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