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I work for a small company in the UK. I had found another job and handed in my 4 weeks written notice, then coronavirus wreaked havoc with the British economy and my job offer was retracted (It was directly as a result of coronavirus, as stated in an email I received from that company). I was then handed a 1 week notice to leave my current employer, which meant I was fired or made redundant after the 28th Feb (Furlough cut off date). I have now left my current employer and I'm asking to be put on furlough, but my current employer's saying it's not in my rights as I'd handed in my notice. As far as I'm aware, this isn't correct, but I can't find anything concrete on the rules around furlough in the UK.

Am I eligible to furlough payment, despite the fact I had handed in my 4 weeks written notice?

Update (14th April): I have been placed on furlough by my old employer. It required a lot of work to convince them to do it, but they have agreed to re employ me on the basis that I will be paid at 80% of my previous salary by the government. I think a lot of the difficulty around this was the uncertainty of re-hiring someone that you never intend to have work for you again

I hope this helps anyone else in this scenario. It can be done

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    You gave 4 weeks notice, which they can accept and if they finish you early making payments for holidays accrued then what is wrong with that? Why do they need to put you on furlough... – Solar Mike Mar 31 at 9:42
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    Being on furlough means he will get significant cash from the government. – gnasher729 Mar 31 at 9:45
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    Many places will walk you off site as soon as you give your notice - sadly some companies have had employees who cause damage while working during the notice period, so they "pay out the notice". – Solar Mike Mar 31 at 10:18
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    @SolarMike I don't know why that's relevant, my notice wasn't paid out, I had 3 weeks of my notice left when they gave me 1 weeks notice to leave the company – Zack N Mar 31 at 10:44
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    @Solar Mike: with Covid-19 around, a company not needing your services and not able to pay you temporarily can put you on furlough (send you home with no work, no pay) while still being officially employed, and the U.K. government will pay 80% of the salary. So instead of 1 week notice, the company could have accepted 4 weeks including 3 weeks furlough, which would have cost them nothing and put a few thousand pound into the employees pocket. So what they are doing is a pure dick move. – gnasher729 Mar 31 at 11:45
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Am I entitled to Furlough payment, despite the fact I had handed in my 4 weeks written notice?

In short, no you aren't entitled to it, the employer is the one who makes a claim for it and it's up to them whether they want to furlough an employee - they need the employee's consent to do so but the employee can't demand that the company furlough them.

As @scotty3785's answer points out HMRC have recently clarified the scenario for those who have left a job after 28/02/2020:

From https://twitter.com/MartinSLewis/status/1244931531807825920

CONFIRMED: If u left a job after 28 Feb, that old employer can rehire you to > furlough u. So if needed ask.

Which at first glance suggests it might help out here, of course there are some caveats to that hope:

  1. It still requires your previous employer to agree - this is in no way automatic.

  2. While Martin Lewis talks about people who had voluntarily left still being eligible for re-hire as yet the government pages do not - they only refer to those who were made redundant, so that's not 100% clear. Although in your case OP this wouldn't be an issue from the sounds of it since they let you go.

As with anyone affected by this you have my sympathy, you really do and it's certainly worth having a conversation with your former employer given the recent developments.

If it doesn't work out, I know it's not much but you would likely be eligible for the new Universal Credit thresholds.

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    Thank you, I appreciate your sympathy and clear answer. Maybe entitled was the wrong word, I meant more eligible I think, but this: "No sane company is going to furlough an employee who has already left." is what I feared would be the case – Zack N Mar 31 at 10:13
  • @ZackN yeah unfortunately I think even if the company wanted to help it would be a big risk for them, we're heading into seriously unknown territory with the furlough thing and with HMRC already making ominous noises about retroactively auditing furlough claims they could even wind up in legal trouble over it. – motosubatsu Mar 31 at 10:21
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    Not the case, employees who have been laid off or left can be furloughed, see my answer. – scotty3785 Mar 31 at 15:05
  • "an employee who has already left." is not equal to "I had 3 weeks of my notice left when they gave me 1 weeks notice to leave the company". – Eric Towers Mar 31 at 17:49
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    @ZackN Result! Glad you got it sorted :) – motosubatsu Apr 14 at 10:11
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According to Martin Lewis' website https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-self-employed-and-employment-help/ furlough may be available to you but it is up to your old employers. This has been clarified with the government.

Lost your job due to coronavirus, or were in process of changing job? Furlough may still be available - but it's up to your old employer Before the furlough support was announced, many people were laid off by panicking firms. And then there were some unlucky people who resigned one job to go to another, but who were then informed that their new job was delayed or didn't exist.

We've had it confirmed that in either of these scenarios, you could be eligible for furlough, but only if your old employer agrees to take you back on to its payroll AND you were on its payroll on 28 February. Sadly, there are no guarantees that you'll be offered furlough retrospectively, but speak to your old employer anyway and ask it to help you.

Edit: seems many people disagree with my post, How about you check the posts on twitter from Martin Lewis himself who has clarified this matter with HMRC

From https://twitter.com/MartinSLewis/status/1244931531807825920

CONFIRMED: If u left a job after 28 Feb, that old employer can rehire you to > furlough u. So if needed ask.

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    Furloughing is for employees the company wishes to potentially retain after the furlough period, so why would they help out an employee who quit? Theres no benefit there for the company, and potentially a lot of hassle. – Moo Mar 31 at 21:28
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    It does sometimes happen that people leave on genuinely good terms for sincere life reasons and everyone would be quite happy to resume the previous relationship if the life change falls apart.... – Affe Mar 31 at 21:55
  • @Moo "Unprecedented circumstances" The company can either choose to not do this or they can furlough them at no/little long term cost to them. Why not support each other in these difficult times? – scotty3785 Apr 1 at 9:06
  • @Donald HMRC have clarified that this is acceptable. Still waiting for the official announcement however. Unemployment won't cover 80% of some salaries as the furlough scheme would. – scotty3785 Apr 1 at 14:01
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    Thanks to MoneySuperMarket I was able to Retract Resignation and get Furlough with their additional provisos: We will stipulate that all holiday that you continue to accrue during furlough is ‘taken’ during this period; We will set the end date of our agreement with you to the last day of the Job Retention Scheme, or the date on which you commence in new employment elsewhere if this date is sooner; – HaveAGuess Apr 29 at 19:04
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Its my understanding that if the company where to apply for the UK government furlough scheme you are required to be a full time employee for them to get the grants, employees that have been let go or have left, are not entitled.

So sadly if you're not full time with them then you're not entitled to it. However during your notice period, you are a full time employee and will be entitled to it during the course of your notice.

However furlough needs to be offered to you it is at the companies discretion as to whether they offer it to you or not.

Sadly there is no benefit to the business as you have already left, if they where to take you back you're card will permanently be marked during your duration there as someone who is looking to leave the company. The only reason that they would give you it is a favour, so hopefully leaving on good terms with everyone will serve you well, theres no harm in asking. But there is no obligation to give you it as you have left and their payroll and finance team will need to process the your information for the government.

Sadly its bad timing with the world the way it is and no one could have predicted this so i'm really sorry that this may not be the answer that you wanted. Universal Credit would personally be my next port of call.

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I think I can help.

If you are currently serving your notice period or have officially left the Company you previous worked for you are not automatically eligible for the government furlough payment which covers 80% of employees regardless of contract types on or before 28/02/2020 at a maximum claim of £2500 per month with a maximum annual salary of £37,500.

Payments will be calculated to either your average monthly income for the the same time last year or an average or your income of your last month - which ever is calculated more.

Your employer will need to agree for you to be place as a furlough employee but if your notice has been served or being served then unfortunately you may not be applicable. If you had a remaining 3 weeks left on your notice as you claim you have already served 1 week this should be paid to you including any holiday entitlement.

  • Manager - HR experience.
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