UK businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, and the Government has unveiled a number of financial support measures for workers at this difficult time. However for some, such as agency workers, it is unclear what support is available.
What is the coronavirus job retention scheme?
All UK businesses are eligible to make a claim to the coronavirus job retention scheme.
The scheme has been set up to support people who would otherwise have been made redundant during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Employees who have been asked to stop working, but are being kept on their company’s payroll, will be considered ‘furloughed workers’.
The Government will then reimburse 80 percent of the employee’s wages, up to £2,500 per month.
Employers will be able to backdate a worker’s pay to March 1.
The scheme will be in place for three months, but this timeframe could be extended depending on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
All employers who operate on a PAYE scheme will be able to make a claim to the scheme, but there is some confusion over other types of workers and their eligibility to claim.
Are agency workers entitled to furlough pay?
The issue of agency workers and furlough pay is unclear at the current time.
The coronavirus job retention scheme in its current form is only accessible for employers who operate a PAYE system for employees.
Many agency workers will not be working on PAYE, and may not receive a regular income every month, factors which would suggest an agency worker cannot claim from the scheme.
However, the details surrounding all financial relief from the Government are still being ironed out at the present time.
The self-employed were also facing a great deal of uncertainty about financial support during this crisis until Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently introduced a number of measures to help self-employed workers.
With regards to agency workers, details could be announced in the coming weeks about any specific support in the pipeline.
Depending on your circumstances, if you are an agency worker impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be eligible to claim Universal Credit.
There have been thousands of applications for Universal Credit due to the effects of coronavirus, and if your claim is successful it usually takes five weeks to receive your first payment.