Confusion over Furlough scheme for self-isolating staff

Confusion over Furlough scheme for self-isolating staff

The BBC have reported that the government has deliberately left vague whether staff can be placed on furlough during self-isolation. We offer no opinion on whether this is deliberate, but confirm it is vague.

In order to try to offer clarity, we believe the situation is as follows:

It is up to employers whether or not to use the furlough scheme such as it is for the remaining months. A business does not need to be shut down to benefit, or experiencing lower turnover.

What a business cannot do, is use the furlough scheme to pay staff who are working to any extent. Disappointingly this is a situation that is coming to light more and more.

A self-isolating member of staff, that is to say a person who displays symptoms of Covid, or who has been told to isolate due to NHS Test and Trace, is entitled to SSP. This is payable by the employer, and is £96.35 per week.

If that same employee agrees, and the employer is willing to, the employer can place that employee on furlough, subject always to the rules of furlough.  This gives the employee 80% of salary subject to the cap of £2,500 per month.

There is much comment to the point that this is not what the furlough scheme was designed for, and we make no comment on that. It does however support people to self-isolate, and that is in the national interest, and supports the aim of preventing the spread of the disease. This is underlined by reports of people failing to isolate due to an inability to support themselves if on SSP.  These are the same employees who we applaud for struggling into work in spite of how ill they feel on other occasions.

The BBC article covering the point can be read HERE.

If you have any employment law related questions, please contact Trula Brunsdon on 01242250039 or at


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