HMRC has updated its guidance to state that employers can (not must) furlough employees whose ability to work on site or at home (either full-time or reduced hours) is adversely affected because they:
- are clinically extremely vulnerable, or at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and following public health guidance; or
- have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in their household.
This resolves an area of uncertainty, which is whether parents who stay at home to look after school-age children are eligible for furlough. They are. Certainly in the latter case it’s a question of eligibility to be determined by the employer rather than an entitlement.