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The Government can and should do more to ensure no-one is furloughed on less than the National Minimum Wage


Charlotte has expressed disappointment at the Government’s response to a recent question she put to the Treasury about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

In her question, Charlotte sought assurances from the Government that no one would be furloughed on less than the National Minimum Wage.


Charlotte asked the Chancellor:

“…if he will make it his policy that employees whose wages are supported through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be paid no less than minimum wage rates for their normal hours of work over the salary reference period for that scheme.”

In response, the Treasury Minister, Jesse Norman, said:

“Furloughed workers will be eligible for 80% of their regular wages, up to a cap of £2,500 a month, even if based on their usual working hours this would be less than the minimum wage. However, employers can top up these payments voluntarily if they wish.
“If training is undertaken by furloughed employees at the request of their employer, then they are entitled to be paid at least the appropriate national minimum wage for this time, even if this is more than the 80% of their regular wages that will be subsidised. Employers will need to pay the additional wages.”

Speaking out in response to the Treasury Minister’s response, Charlotte said:

“I found the response from the Treasury deeply disappointing.
“No worker should suffer a financial detriment for being furloughed if their employer can afford to make up the difference, particularly if the furlough rate takes their employees below a real Living Wage.
“It is clear though that in many sectors, particularly those where salaries tend to be at or around the National Minimum Wage, many employers are struggling to stay afloat and cannot afford to make up the difference.
“The National Minimum Wage is the statutory floor for wages because it is the minimum a person can be expected to live on. For the lowest-paid in our community, 80% of the National Minimum Wage is not enough to get by, and if their employer can not afford to top up their salary to at least this level the Government should.
"The Government can and should be doing more to ensure no-one is furloughed on less than the National Minimum Wage.”