Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert noted that if Britons cannot work the same amount of hours, they can work what is available and be furloughed for the remaining amount under normal circumstances. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Mr Lewis said: “It’s important to understand that employees can be furloughed, if their employers are furloughing, to look after children.
“If you can’t work from home or you can’t work due to childcare responsibilities, I’ve had it confirmed that it’s legal and I would say desirable although not compulsory for employers to furlough you.
“If you can’t be furloughed or they won’t furlough you then legally you have the right to take time off if needed to look after a dependent.
“You can’t be disciplined for that so long as it’s organised but sadly you don’t have the right to be paid for it.
“It’s worth remembering too that furlough these days is flexible.
“Whether you’re furloughing for childcare or just because you can’t work, there is some work you can do.
“Say you work a 35-hour week and you can only do 10 hours a week, you can be furloughed for 25 hours with up to 80 percent of your pay.
“Your employer will then give you your full salary for the hours that you work so there are ways you can work this around.”
It comes as tough new coronavirus restrictions may have to remain in place until March, senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove warned, as England enters its third national lockdown.
In a televised address on Monday, Boris Johnson announced stringent new controls – including closing schools to most pupils – in an attempt to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed by a surge in new infections.
At the same time, the Prime Minister raised the prospect that the vaccination programme being rolled out across the country could enable restrictions to be progressively eased from mid-February.
But, in a round of broadcast interviews on Tuesday morning, Mr Gove said relaxation of the rules may have to wait until the following month – and that even then some measures may have to remain in place.
“We will keep these constantly under review, but we can’t predict with certainty that we will be able to lift restrictions in the week commencing February 15-22,” he told Sky News.
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“What we will be doing is everything that we can to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated, so that we can begin to progressively lift restrictions.
“I think it is right to say that, as we enter March, we should be able to lift some of these restrictions, but not necessarily all.”
It came as the UK recorded 60,916 lab-confirmed coronavirus cases as of 9am on Tuesday – the highest daily total reported so far.
The Government said a further 830 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday.