The Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Through the scheme the Government commits to cover 80% of the wages of ‘furloughed workers,’ up to £2,500 per month. A ‘furloughed worker’ is someone who remains employed but is not provided with work. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that employers who cannot afford to pay staff wages do not make redundancies.

Further guidance from the Government was released on 26th March 2020 which can be found here.

In relation to public sector organisations, the further guidance states:

“The government expects that the scheme will not be used by many public sector organisations, as the majority of public sector employees are continuing to provide essential public services or contribute to the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing, we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs.

Organisations who are receiving public funding specifically to provide services necessary to respond to COVID-19 are not expected to furlough staff.

In a small number of cases, for example where organisations are not primarily funded by the government and whose staff cannot be redeployed to assist with the coronavirus response, the scheme may be appropriate for some staff.”