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-   -   To Furlough, or not to Furlough...that is the question (https://www.pprune.org/terms-endearment/633311-furlough-not-furlough-question.html)

First.officer 16th Jun 2020 21:20

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.

Capt Scribble 16th Jun 2020 21:35

Its your employers problem. If you, personally, are not claiming from the Government coffers, you have done nothing wrong. Furlough money, I understand, is paid to the employer. If they are incorrectly administering the scheme, then it is their responsibility and problem.

TRENT210 16th Jun 2020 23:07

As it reads youre allowed to be brought on and off furlough as many times as your employer sees fit. The only stipulation when it come to your employer claiming is that youre furloughed for at least 3 weeks at a time.

So in theory you could be furloughed for 3 weeks, work 1 day, furlough for another 3 weeks.

Outside of that your employer can also ask you to come into work for various reasons that dont directly generate revenue for the company such as training, meetings etc. So in my company people have been rostered to attend OPCs, LPCs, Wet drills etc.

A side point is that you can also work for another employer whilst on furlough as long as your furloughed employer authorises it. So at my company people have been bumping up their furlough working for Tesco, Asda, NHS etc. Some of our moonlighting furloughed FOs are currently earning more per week than some of our captains who are still flying for the company.

macdo 17th Jun 2020 09:14

TRENT210 pretty much repeated what an employment barrister said on LBC radio a couple of weeks back when asked the exact same question. There appears to be some employers abusing the system, either maliciously or erroneously, which I suppose is not surprising.

hunterboy 17th Jun 2020 11:54

Yep, I see there were some job opportunities for furloughed pilots assembling ventilators at 40/hour. I only wish I lived locally otherwise Id be all over that like a rash!

BirdmanBerry 17th Jun 2020 19:45

Trent is on the mark. Minimum 3 week period of furlough at a time, no part time furlough until this starts in July. You may complete training but not do any activity that generates revenue for the employer.

They've now announced a 30 day amnesty for employers who have been claiming fraudulently to own up. I think they are going to really hit employers who are cheating the system really hard.

plikee 18th Jun 2020 11:34

You are correct, your colleagues are not. The responses above mine are all correct but if you want to dig it yourself:


(2 weeks notice to get back to work? People are delusional. Or lazy. Or maybe using the furlough status for some holidays, ah!)

First.officer 18th Jun 2020 12:41

Thanks for the replies all, and yes - have looked at the Gov.uk website (and quoted it lol!), sadly it is lacking in real 'meaty' information that proves my point in case. I think the "at least 2-weeks notice from my employer as to the start date of recommencing any working period returning from Furlough" can only have been some form of hearsay I think, but one website that was quoted for other areas was;


TRENT210 18th Jun 2020 12:56

My employer is giving us a minimum of 48 hours notice which I think is more than enough time.

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