Can agency workers be placed on furlough?

Yes. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme confirms that employees on agency contracts can be furloughed, provided that they are paid through PAYE. Agency workers will usually be on the payroll of the agency, rather than the organisation they have been working for. Therefore, it is the agency that will put them on furlough. This can be done only if the agency worker is not doing any work for the agency and was on the agency's payroll on 19 March 2020 (or on 28 February 2020 if the worker is rehired and furloughed, after the termination of their employment).

The scheme is now closed to new entrants, except where the employee is returning from statutory family leave or is a military reservist returning from active service.