Minimum wage for furloughed workers 'must be honoured,' GMB tells Chancellor

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"It is a moral outrage to pay workers less than the minimum wage," says GMB Union 

GMB Union has today [Thursday, 16 April 2020] written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to demand that furloughed workers be paid no less than minimum wage rates under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. 

The Government’s current guidance states that ‘furloughed workers who are not working can be paid the lower of 80% of their salary or £2,500 even if, based on their usual working hours, this would be below their appropriate minimum wage.’ [1] The only exception is for time spent on mandatory training while furloughed. 

Writing to the Chancellor, GMB’s General Secretary Tim Roache said that the decision will cause ‘significant hardship’ and is a ‘violation of the spirit of the National Minimum Wage Act, and a breach of the social contract.’ [2] 

GMB is calling on the Government to urgently amend the scheme ahead of the opening of HMRC’s claims portal on Monday [20 April 2020]. 

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: ‘It is a moral outrage to pay workers less than the minimum wage – full stop.  

‘Instead of hiding behind a legal loophole, Ministers must ensure that all furloughed workers continue to receive minimum wage rates at the very least.  

‘Failure to do so is already causing unnecessary and significant hardship for many low-paid workers. 

‘It is not too late to change course. GMB calls on the Chancellor to act urgently and remedy this serious flaw in the Job Retention Scheme.’ 


Media enquiries: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors:


[2] Letter available for download on the right of this page