Government furlough scheme − guidance for housing associations

We have produced some brief guidance for housing associations confirming that they are eligible to use the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. 

Guidance for housing associations

Housing association staff are providing vital support and services to tenants and residents throughout the coronavirus crisis, and in many cases redeploying staff to further assist with the response.

However, there will be some circumstances where housing associations may seek to furlough certain staff, in the interests of protecting jobs and securing the long-term provision of high quality services to tenants and residents.

Housing associations are eligible to use the government’s scheme to claim 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, in line with the scheme’s guidance.

  • Before claiming, housing associations should read the government’s published guidance on the scheme and apply where it is appropriate to do so.

  • The guidance states that “where employers receive public funding for staff costs, and that funding is continuing we expect employers to use that money to continue to pay staff in the usual fashion – and correspondingly not furlough them. This also applies to non-public sector employers who receive public funding for staff costs”. In most cases, housing associations do not receive public funding for staff costs, so are not excluded from applying on this basis.  

  • The guidance also states that ‘employees who are shielding in line with public heath guidance can be placed on furlough’. 

We have shared this with the government and are confident our interpretation is correct.

Webinar on using the scheme

Community Housing Cymru hosted a webinar about legal considerations around furloughing which they have kindly made available to NHF members – this covers a lot of questions which housing associations will find useful.