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Update on furloughing rules from the FLTA

The Fork Lift Truck Association has issued an update, which is reproduced below, and which outlines the latest government information on the the current furloughing rules.

As further information and clarifications come out about the government's furloughing scheme, we thought it useful to keep you updated on what we've learned to help everyone ne navigate this often complex area.

Employees can start a new job when on furlough.

This meaning they might end up earning 80% of the old salary and 100% of a new one.

In the earlier guidance this was not prohibited, but the new guidance expressly allows it. It states that the new employee must declare that they are furloughed from another job. The guidance also says that the new employment has to be allowed under the old employment contract, but we presume the old employer is able to waive that (should they wish).

The logic behind this (as we see it) is so there is a wider pool of potential candidates for various key worker roles that may be needed during this time. 

An employer can reclaim 80% of compulsory (which we interpret as meaning contractual) commission back from HMRC, as well as basic salary.

This is good news for the likes of car salesmen and estate agents, but it can only be claimed referring to the commission from past sales as the furloughed employees cannot be completing new sales when on furlough.

Employers can reclaim 80% of fees from HMRC. The previous guidance said they could not

The 80% does not include non-monetary benefits (for example the value of health insurance or a car).

Company directors can be furloughed. They can still perform their statutory duties but not other work for the company.

Employees can be furloughed multiple times.

(They can be furloughed, brought back to work, then re-furloughed.)

This is subject to each furlough period being at least three weeks.

Employers must notify employees of their furlough status in writing and keep the record of that written notification for five years. The previous guidance did not require it to be in writing 

For now, some areas remain unclear.

For example:

  • What do 'statutory duties' actually cover for company directors?
  • Are employees who TUPE into a business after 28th February covered? 
  • Can employees take annual leave when on furlough, and what should they be paid? In the meantime we would advise not to ask employees to take holiday while on furlough and wait further guidance. 
As we get answers to these questions and any further updates to the scheme, we will strive to keep you informed as soon as possible

FLTA COVID-19 Resource Centre

The FLTA's Resource Centre is being continually updated with the latest advice for the materials handling industry and suppliers. You'll find clarification on government statements, support on furloughing workers, information on workplace best practice and more.

Check back regularly for up-to-date guidance as we work together to navigate this crisis.

FLTA Resource centre | Government Furloughing page