How furloughing works – and who is eligible?
The Talent Manager has spoken directly to senior HMRC spokesman to get detail on how furloughing can work for production companies – and freelancers. Our summary of the key points is below.
We had a freelancer on a PAYE contract who we had to let go because of C-19. Can they be furloughed?
Yes, if someone was made redundant, they are eligible for the furlough scheme (if rehired) so long as they were on the payroll on 28th February and made redundant after 1st March. This applies even if they had worked only a day or two of the contract.
If their contract ended before 1st March they would not be eligible for furlough.
What if we have a freelancer whose contract is due to end imminently (eg early April) anyway? Can we extend the contract in order to keep them furloughed?
Yes, as long as a firm keeps people employed via PAYE then people are still eligible to be furloughed for up to 12 weeks.
What if their contract came to a natural end in early March – ie before the C-19 restrictions were put in place? Could we ‘rehire’ them and put them on furlough, backdated to when we rehired them?
Yes, someone can be rehired by an employer for the scheme but only if they were let go after 1st March. Otherwise Universal Credit would be able to help for the individual, and tax deferrals if applicable.
I have offered someone a job – and they had accepted – but the start date was in a couple of weeks’ time. The job they have been hired for has now been cancelled or postponed. Can I still honour the contract even though it would mean putting them on furlough straight away because there is no work currently for them to do?
No, unless someone was on the payroll on 28th February they would not be eligible for furloughing.
How will HMRC know if someone has been furloughed?
They will ask companies to self-certify which employees have been furloughed.
Can a PAYE person do any work at all for the company while on furlough?
No, they cannot work for them while on furlough.