The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme introduced a new concept to English employment law. Whilst the scheme provides welcome support to businesses, whereby the government will pay up to eighty percent of people's wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, employers should be mindful of the rules of the scheme to avoid penalties.
The government guidance which was further updated on 4 April 2020 is clear that furloughed employees will not be able to do any work for their employer. Also, any training or volunteering carried out by employees on furlough must not make money for or provide services to their employer.
There are consequences for failing to abide by these rules. The government has the right to audit the scheme at any time, and if they determine that there has been deliberate abuse of the scheme, employers will have to pay back any grants made and maybe subject to further sanctions.
Companies have been warned to abide by the rules of new Government Coronavirus measures – or leave themselves open to penalties.