How should an employer calculate pay for an employee who is furloughed on return from maternity leave or other family-related leave?

HM Revenue and Customs guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme states that where an employee with fixed pay is furloughed having returned from maternity or other family-related leave, the employer should calculate their furlough pay by reference to their salary, rather than the pay they received while they were on family-related leave.

Furlough pay for an employee with variable pay will be based on either their earnings from the corresponding calendar period in the 2019/2020 tax year or their average earnings for the 2019/2020 tax year, whichever is higher. Alternatively, if the employee started work after 19 March 2020 and is furloughed for the first time on or after 1 November 2020, the calculation should be based on their average earnings between 6 April 2020 (or the date the employee joined, if later) and the start of the furlough period.

When using the average earnings calculation method for an employee with variable pay, the guidance states that the employer should not include days when they were on "family-related statutory leave or reduced rate paid leave following a period of family-related statutory leave". This is unless the employee was on leave for the whole of the calculation period, in which case their average pay should be based on the actual pay they received. The employee's actual pay should also be used where furlough pay is calculated using the corresponding calendar period method.