The Government has clarified what training employees can undertake while furloughed.
On 22 May, the Chancellor made a further Treasury Direction, under Sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, to reflect extensions of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) that are needed to ensure the scheme works as the government intended.
The CJRS has evolved considerably from the basic outline first announced by the Chancellor in March 2020. For the scheme to deliver cash support to businesses quickly, it was inevitable that detailed guidance would need to be published ahead of the law which takes longer to write.
Among the changes, the new guidance makes it clear that the written agreement for the employee to cease all work has to be retained by the employer until at least 30 June 2025 and must:
specify the main terms and conditions,
be incorporated (expressly or impliedly) in the employee’s contract, and
is made or confirmed in writing.
The new guidance also emphasises that the training activities a furloughed employee can undertake must not provide a service to the employer, nor can they contribute to the business activities or generate income or profit for the employer. They must, however, be relevant to the employee's employment.