Old 16th Jun 2020, 21:20
  #1 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 405
To Furlough, or not to Furlough...that is the question

Okay, will admit that this is likely a multiple answer (guess ) response, but nonetheless I will ask....

I have a slight difference of opinion as to how the current JRS or "Furlough" scheme is applied here in the UK - more specifically as an airline pilot. I have some friends who work within different airlines to me (as pilots), and that are currently not flying since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (c.March end of), whereas I myself am being brought in and out of Furlough to complete work as may be required at various times by my current employer. Like all airlines, my airline has taken a pummelling and seen it's finances drop faster than a lead weight in to a deep pond!. My peers are of the opinion that in order for an employer to claim any JRS (Furlough) payments in my name, that I personally am not able to undertake any kind of work whatsoever for my employer until at least the 1st July 2020. They are quoting various Gov.uk, HR sites etc. as sources to me and are quite vocal in opining that I am working illegally and therefore I will be culpable in any possible legal action(s) going forward should HMRC wish to consider (unlikely in the extreme IMHO as I do not believe any rules have been contravened!).

Considering my peers beliefs, I find that I am of the opposite opinion to theirs - I believe that as long as I am on Furlough for at least 3-weeks at a time, any claim made by an employer is then bona-fide and legitimate. Moreover, if an employer has a sudden need for work that arises at any point, an employer can immediately request attendance of myself for the work that has presented itself (obviously if this is within a minimum 3-week furlough period, the employer cannot then make a claim under the scheme if I am recalled at this point). Also, I am of the understanding that I can be 'off' furlough (i.e. available for work) for as long as the employer then requires, as opposed to a minimum period that my friends think is legally required - also suggesting that I need at least 2-weeks notice from my employer as to the start date of recommencing any working period returning from Furlough, and also stating that said employer also has to notify me at the end of such a working period, that I am to be placed back on to the JRS (Furlough) scheme.

Ordinarily I wouldn't be too fussed about the issue but am concerned slightly as they are insistent that if any rules are contravened and later discovered (I should add personally don't believe this to be the case!), that I am as an individual, culpable and complicit and would therefore suffer any penalty that might be issued. I've tried searching for the relevant rules that prove what I believe to be the case that I can work as above, but cannot find definitive proof - and wondering if any kind soul on here has found such guidance? and if so, could point me in the right direction and allow me to close my argument once and for all, as I have no desire to have to keep defending my position unnecessarily in the absence of definitive proof that proves my case.

Thanks in advance.
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