How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 74453
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I run a small company in Cornwall and employ my step

This answer was rated:

I run a small company in Cornwall and employ my step daughter as one of my staff. Three weeks ago she broke her neck in a motoring accident and is thankfully going to make a full recovery in 12 weeks. I want to put her on furlough as I have read the governments guidelines for furloughing staff, specifically people on long term sick leave and feel that I have a valid case. My wife has phoned the government helpline and spoken to three people there who are unsure of the legitibility of our case, but say they do not think we are doing anything wrong, even though we have not had a downturn in business. My bookkeeper however disagrees and refuses to put our claim through. What do you think?
JA: Have you talked to a tax professional about this?
Customer: No I don’t know any.
JA: Anything else you want the Accountant to know before I connect you?
Customer: No thanks that is it. By the way I didn’t sign off properly, my name is*****

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

How long has your step daughter worked for the business?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Over 5 years.

Thank you. Leave it with me for now, although please note it is extremely busy at present due to the ongoing situation so there may be a delay in replying, but I will get back to you at some point today. Please do not reply in the meantime. Many thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is now the end of the day and I haven’t heard back from you.

Hi there, you are still in the queue for an answer, we do not close at 5, I work until all answers are provided. Will be in touch soon, thanks

Hi, I just received a message that my post from last night bounced – apologies for that I am not sure why it has happened so I attach my response again, hopefully it will come through this time.

“Many thanks for your patience. The description of the CJRS states that “If you cannot maintain your current workforce because your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can furlough employees and apply for a grant”. So it would initially suggest that furlough is only for businesses affected by Covid-19. However, it does not mean that this particular employee has to have been affected by it – as long as the business has in some ways been affected, which in truth will cover pretty much all businesses in the UK.

The only other mention is that you can consider furloughing employees on long-term sick leave, but does not define whether they have to be off sick for Covid-19 related reasons or not.

Overall, I would say you can apply and should do so, and if HMRC do not believe that the person is eligible, they can reject the claim. It is highly unlikely you would be accused of abusing the system when the rules themselves are not that clear – HMRC is mainly interested in people making claims for employees and then not paying them, or forcing employees to work whilst furloughed, which is against the rules.

Does this answer your query?”

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help, it is exactly what I hoped for.

You are most welcome

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you