Martin Lewis has taken to social media to update workers after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the latest measures being implemented in a bid to combat the impact of the coronavirus across the UK.
Shortly after Mr Johnson’s televised speech to the nation on Monday night, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, ordered a country-wide lockdown in Scotland.
Supermarkets and other food shops
Home and hardware shops
Llaundrettes and dry cleaners
Market stalls selling grocery and food
Many people have been fortunate enough to be able to work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak, but for others, that hasn’t been an option and solutions aren’t being offered.
Money-saving expert Martin Lewis revealed that his social media accounts have been flooded with concerned workers asking what support is out there for them.
And soon after news of the lockdown was announced, the financial journalist took to social media with advice for employees on PAYE and zero-hours contracts.
The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com wrote on Twitter: “If you are technically an employee (on PAYE – ie payroll) on a zero hours contract. You should be able to be furloughed (ie a bit like your job put on standby) by your employer if you can’t work – and it will get 80% of your Feb salary each month up to a max £2,500. Ask em.”
In response to his tweet, he was “swamped’ with questions regarding the definition of ‘furloughed’ and posted a five-minute video from his London home to explain it.
In the video, he said: “Furloughing is the new system. I want you to think of it, the best analogy is a bit like putting your TV on standby.
“You switch it off, it’s not fully off, it waits there until you need it again and that’s what the Government is trying to do to the many employees who won’t, or can’t be able to work, so you could be put on standby.
“Now in order to do this, what it said is, companies will be able to claim up to 80% of your salary up to a maximum of £2,500 a month – if an employee is on furlough.
“Now they’ve said, and we would all hope that the company will give them 100% of their salary, but, it doesn’t have to do that. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing because in some cases they would be getting rid of you or giving you unpaid leave anyway.
“So, if your situation is the only way they’ll keep you on is to go on 80% of your salary – volunteer it. Hopefully, companies that are a bit more financially solid will give you more.”
The financial expert then explained who could be furloughed saying: “The basic definition is employees who don’t have a job to do.”
He said he’s been trying to discover whether people who have to self-isolate for 12 weeks and are unable to work from home and those people with childcare needs who have to look after their children can be furloughed.
Speaking in the video he said: “It’s up to the company who can be furloughed, so ask your employer.”
He also addressed furloughing for zero-hours contract workers: “It depends on the nature of your zero-hours contract, but if you are paid by PAYE it may well be possible to be furloughed.”
The amount you would receive would generally be determined by your income from February.
Martin’s advice to anyone with concerns is: “If you are paid by PAYE. If you can’t work, or don’t have work to go to at the moment, ask your employer to furlough you.
“Try and get 100% of your salary, but if it won’t do that, don’t let that be a dealbreaker, go for 80% of your salary.”
On Tuesday morning, Martin released another video offering important advice to the self-employed amid the coronavirus crisis.
Those who are self-employed are struggling financially and looking to the Government for support.
The Money Saving Expert founder urged the self-employed to “hold on” as he expects an announcement in the coming days.
In the latest video he said: “I’m very aware of how difficult the scenario is right now if you’re self-employed.
“You may have no income coming in and feel there is very limited support coming in from the state so I have two big messages for you.
“I have it confirmed from the Government they are working on a support package for the self-employed.
“They hope to make an announcement this week.”
He added that he doesn’t know what the support package is, but said: “One would assume they would be looking to put the self-employed in some sort of parity with employees receiving 80% of their salary.”
He also reminded anyone that is self-employed that if they have money put aside for tax payments, they are allowed to defer their self-assessment payment by six months, which would free up some much-needed cash.
There will be another one-hour special edition of the Martin Lewis Money Show to discuss coronavirus financial concerns on Thursday, March 26 at 8.30pm on ITV.