Public-sector contractors in furlough boost

Public-sector contractors who are unable to work on ongoing contracts due to COVID-19 may be eligible for the job retention scheme.

‘Contingent workers', such as doctors or locums, who operate through personal service companies (PSC) can furlough themselves in some cases.

It applies to contingent workers who are either operating through a PSC, an umbrella company, or those on PAYE as of 28 February 2020.

Those who cannot work on public-sector contracts because of the coronavirus, self-isolation or office closures qualify for the scheme in full.

It enables PSCs or umbrella companies to obtain grants to cover up to 80% of contingent workers' wages, up to £2,500 a month.

The grants cover whichever is the lower of 80% of a furloughed contingent worker's regular wage or £2,500 a month.

The scheme is open for an initial three months from 1 March 2020, although it may be extended beyond that if necessary.

However, those who cannot work because COVID-19 has closed schools or childminding facilities can only use the scheme for seven working days.