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Furlough FAQs 

In response to the new and updates guidelines for the current furlough scheme, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions to help employers and employees understand their rights to claim and to unpick some of the grey areas that may be cause for confusion.  

Skills for Growth – SME Support advisors are up to date with current, relevant knowledge and offer impartial advice to employers on the management of furloughed staff. If you require further information or assistance in relation to the following article, please contact our team. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

When can I apply for furlough? 

Furlough is currently open for applications and will run until 31 March 2021. 


Who can claim? 

Employers across the UK can claim, whether their businesses are open or closed. 


How much can I claim? 

For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. 


Can my furloughed staff still work for me? 

No. Furloughed staff must not work for their employer until furlough ends. If the employees do any work, then the employer’s claims for the government grant may be jeopardised. 


How long will I be able to claim for? 

The current scheme is in place to run until 31 March 2021; however, the government will review the policy in January 2021 to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more. 


Which of my employees are eligible? 

Employers can claim for employees who were employed and on their PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020 and as under the current furlough rules, employees can be on any type of employment contract. 


Can I claim for employees who have already been furloughed or made redundant? 

It is not necessary for employees to have been furloughed previously. Employees that were employed and on the payroll on 23 September 2020 who were made redundant or stopped working for their employer afterwards can be re-employed and claimed for. 


Does the furlough grant cover National Insurance? 

The furlough grant does not cover employers’ National Insurance contributions or pension contributions, which must be paid by the employer. 


How can I communicate with furloughed staff? 

Purely social contact with employees is permitted, and it is recommended that furloughed employees are given an HR contact to communicate through. It is also recommended that furloughed staff be contacted through a personal email address to avoid confusion around government guidelines should they receive communication through a work-related email address. 


What rights do furloughed employees have? 

Furlough is a temporary period of absence of work, so the same rights apply. This includes Statutory Sick Pay, maternity and other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and redundancy payments. 


What can employees do while furloughed? 

Employees can take part in trainingvolunteer for another employer or organisation and even work for another employer (if contractually allowed). 


What training pathways can I access through Skills for Growth? 

We support applications for apprenticeship opportunities and in generating roles through the Kickstart scheme, aimed at getting 16-24-year olds into work. We also have a large network of other training and development providers to suit various needs. 


How can Skills for Growth – SME Support help me? 

Through to one-on-one coaching from our skills and strategy advisory team members, we will guide you through the process of finding the right skills training provider or training programme for you or your team.  


What other support services does Skills for Growth – SME Support offer? 

We are offering health and wellbeing coaching to ensure that employers and employees alike remain positive throughout this difficult winter period and continue to nurture relationships within the team.  


How can I contact Skills for Growth – SME Support? 

To find out more, call 0161 237 4444 or contact  


The Growth Company is an award-winning, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. We provide individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment and enterprise for the benefit of all, and have been working in the Greater Manchester city region for more than 30 years. 

This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.  

The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.  

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit 

About the author

Dawn Duggan

Dawn Duggan

Dawn has been with the Business Growth Hub since September 2014 and is responsible for the design, delivery and evaluation of the People, Skills & Talent Programme which include the Executive Development Programme, Workforce Development, Inclusive Growth, Mentoring, National Be the Business Mentoring for Growth Programme and Skills for Growth – SME Support.