Can you work somewhere else if you are furloughed?
Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers can apply for grants from HMRC to cover 80% of the wages of payroll staff who are unable to work because of the outbreak.
How many vacancies are there?
While it is hard to know how many companies have already managed to recruit enough people to make up for extra demand or workforce gaps, some sectors have been recruiting tens of thousands of new staff members.
There is a shortfall of up to 80,000 workers across the country during harvest season, according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).
Fruit and vegetable supplier G’s said it was looking to hire 2,500 people to work in farms in East Anglia, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, West Sussex and Kent. These jobs include crop pickers, drivers, engineers and team leaders.
The nation’s biggest supermarkets are also recruiting 30,000 workers to stock shelves, deliver food and serve customers. Tesco said it would recruit 20,000 temporary workers for at least the next 12 weeks. Aldi is set to recruit a total of 9,000 to new positions, while Asda aims to recruit 5,000 new members of staff.
Employers can also choose to make up the difference between the scheme’s payment and a person’s standard salary.
However, because the scheme means an individual is still technically employed, they are unable to work for someone else if it breaches the contractual obligations of their current role.
This means you can only work outside of the hours you would normally, for example, working at a supermarket on the days you are not contracted to work would be acceptable.
If you have been temporarily laid off, you cannot work for your own employer.
What about if you are self-employed?
Although the Government has announced it will pay a grant of up to £2,500 per month to self-employed people who have lost income because of coronavirus this year, its scheme does not start until June, meaning many will be looking for other sources of income.
HMRC has confirmed that the self-employed will also be able to take on other work during this time. However, they should still follow the Government’s general instructions for working during the outbreak and only leave the house if essential to do so.
Which sectors are looking for jobs?
Food manufacturing and production sectors have been recruiting tens of thousands of workers to meet the increased demand for food from supermarkets.
Supermarkets, including Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda have created around 30,000 new jobs in just two weeks. This includes roles as warehouse staff and delivery drivers.
The country’s biggest supermarket Tesco has adapted its recruitment process so it can process applications, assess eligibility to work and interview candidates in a single day.
Those who have been made redundant or are out of work owing to coronavirus have also been urged to work in agriculture and food-processing sectors.
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has said more domestic workers are needed to help with this year’s harvest because travel restrictions mean overseas workers cannot work on British farms.
What about volunteer work?
If you have been furloughed, you can take part in volunteer work or training but it must not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of, your organisation.
More than half a million people have already responded to the Government’s call for NHS volunteers including for help with its Nightingale field hospitals across the country.
The Government has said people must stay inside their homes as much as they can unless it is for buying essential items, exercising or accessing or providing medical treatment.
Many volunteer roles are home-based, owing to these social distancing restrictions, but others will involve being more active.
What about training?
Pub staff can continue or undertake any training with their employer as long it does not provide them with any services or revenue. The Government has said furloughed employees should be encouraged to do training.