Children's Law Centre ‘Rights House’ 127-131 Ormeau Road, Belfast, BT7 1SH

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Jobs and Benefits - COVID-19

If I lose my job because of COVID-19 can I get universal credit?

Usually you can only claim Universal credit if you are over 18, however there are some exceptions if you are 16 or 17. You can check if you're likely to be accepted for universal credit using this calculator 10-minute Benefits Calculator or you can find out more information on https://www.adviceni.net/coronavirus/benefits.

If I lose my job because of COVID-19 what are my rights?

If you have lost your job or you are unable to do your work due to Covid-19, you can speak to your employer about being put on furlough. If this is not possible then you may be entitled to apply for universal credit. Contact Advice NI for more information on this. https://www.adviceni.net/coronavirus/employment.

Where do I go to get help about benefits if I can’t work because of COVID-19?

You can contact Advice NI for more detailed information and advice on how COVID-19 might affect your job or benefits. Contact details and advice are available through the Advice NI website https://www.adviceni.net/coronavirus/benefits.

What does furloughed mean?

Furlough is basically a job retention scheme that means you can still get paid 80% of your wages if your job has been affected by COVID-19. It essentially means your job is being put on standby until normality resumes and you can go back to work as normal. If you are put on furlough, you won't be able to do any work for your employer or on their behalf until furlough ends.

How does Furlough work?

If you have been on your employer’s payroll from 19th March 2020 then the government will pay your employer 80% of your salary or up to £2,500/month. Your employer can choose to top up your wage to the full 100% but they don’t have to. You also cannot do any work for your employer or on their behalf until furlough ends.

Am I entitled to be furloughed if I’m on zero hours contract?

If you are on a zero hours contract and you are taxed through PAYE, then you should be entitled to be furloughed. Your 80% payment will be based on the higher of:

  • The amount you earned in the same month a year ago; OR
  • Your average earnings over the last 12 months if you have worked there for 12months. If you haven’t then it will be calculated using your average earnings over the amount of time you have worked for the company.

You'll need to discuss furlough with your employer, or the relevant agency or umbrella company where applicable. If you are put on furlough, you won't be able to do any work for them or on their behalf until the furlough ends.

If I am furloughed for 3 weeks will I be guaranteed my job back again after lockdown?

The hope is that by the time the Furlough scheme ends, restrictions will have lifted and you can return to work where your employer can start paying full wages again. But unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your employer will keep you on after the furlough scheme ends. This will depend on the circumstances of the individual business/employer.

Am I entitled to use a foodbank if I lose my job because of COVID-19?

Yes, everyone is entitled to use a food bank whether you are employed or unemployed.

Contact Info

Children's Law Centre
‘Rights House’
127-131 Ormeau Road,
Belfast,
BT7 1SH

Tel: 028 90245704
Fax: 028 90245679


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