A year ago, the majority of UK workers and business owners had probably never heard of the word furlough before, but the coronavirus pandemic has well and truly made it staple within our vocabulary in 2020. 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak back in March and aimed to cover up to 80% of workers wages while they were off work, in hope of preventing businesses from having to lay off their staff. This measure sought to help alleviate the financial burden felt by businesses as a result of COVID-19 and has since been extending till the end of March 2021. With the furlough scheme, employers have the opportunity to temporarily keep their staff out of work with the intention of bringing them back at a later date.

For many, however, the return to work isn't a guarantee, and with so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, the threat of losing their job is a genuine one that they have no control over. As a result, many of these workers have looked for other jobs that guarantee some sort of short-term stability but are they allowed? And if they are, how do they go about doing it? 

If you've been placed on furlough by your current employer and are wondering if you should find a new job, here is everything that you need to know. 

Can you still work for your employer while on furlough?

If your current employer has placed you on furlough but has asked you to continue to work, you may be wondering whether you are actually allowed to. Well, you are. However, this needs to be on a part-time basis with furlough covering the hours that you don't work. It is ultimately down to your employer whether you are furloughed part-time or full-time. The hours that you do work for your employer will be paid at 100%, whereas as the hours you don't will be covered 80% up to £2,500. 

 

Can you work for someone else while on furlough?

If you have been placed on furlough and have no idea when you will be back in work, you may be asking yourself whether you're able to find work elsewhere in the meantime. 

The answer to this question is yes, you are allowed to find another job whilst on furlough, however, this has to be agreed with your current employer. Being on furlough technically means you are still employed by your company, which means that finding and working for another business could be in breach of your contract. Many employers place clauses within contracts that state you are not permitted to have a second job. 

If you would like to take on some temporary work while on furlough, you should contact your boss or HR department to clarify what their rules are and if you are able to adapt your contract is some way.

The UK government even encouraged furlough workers to take up a second job fruit and vegetable picking with the Feed the Nation scheme which aimed to help the agricultural industry. 

 

Finding a new job while furloughed 

The possibility of being laid off is definitely the biggest motivation for people when it comes to finding a new job while they are furloughed. It also offers workers an opportunity to reassess their skillset and figure out what they are able to offer any potential new employer.

So, if you are thinking about finding a new job while placed on furlough, here is what you need to be thinking about:

  • Determine your skills - Before applying for any new job you need to ensure that you are completely aware of the skills that you are able to offer. Start by brainstorming the general skills that you have that are attractive to any hiring manager then think about the job-specific skills that are important within your industry. 
  • Revise your CV - Once you have identified the skills that you possess, both soft and hard, it's time to tidy up your CV. Be sure to include all of these as well as any relevant experience, certifications and achievements. Exclude any outdated and irrelevant information including your furloughed status.
  • Practice your interview techniques - Once you have updated your CV, it's time to brush up on your interview skills. Here, you should know everything that you have to offer your new employer as well as identifying the areas where you can improve as a result of the new position.
  • Stay positive - As a result of the pandemic, you may think that companies are all in the same boat but they aren't. Unemployment may have risen, with increased competition for lower-skilled jobs, however, if you are a skilled worker and have something to offer that a potential employer needs then your chances of finding a new job is as good as any. So, stay positive, being furloughed isn't the end of the world.

If you would like further advice or help with your CV or interview skills, be sure to visit our pages below. 

CV Advice >           Interview Help >

 

HRS can also help you find a new position if you are currently furloughed. Click here to browse all current vacancies. 

For more information, be sure to get in touch with a member of the HRS team today, we'd be more than happy to offer any advice that helps in your job search!