Stephanie Hammond, director of accounts at Beatons accountancy firm, looks at how the scheme works to protect employment, employees and employers.

The clue is in the name – the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The idea behind it is that the government wants businesses to “retain” staff rather than make them redundant.

MORE: Personal Finance: I’ve been furloughed, what happens to my pension contributions?To do this, it has offered to step in to pay 80% of a furloughed worker’s usual wage up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, to relieve the financial pressure on his or her employer.

In exchange, your employer has to keep your job open within the company.

Once the pandemic is over and life returns to usual, the ideal situation will be that the business you work for will pick up where it left off.

Of course, the reality of that will be somewhat different.

Some businesses will flourish after the storm passes.

Others will find it incredibly difficult to pick up the pieces.

So, while being furloughed “guarantees” 80% of your wage (up to £2,500 a month) for the period you are furloughed, that’s where your guarantee ends.

When the government stops the scheme, employers must make a decision depending on their circumstances, as to whether employees can return to their duties.

If staff are not needed or the business cannot afford to take staff back on, the government guidelines suggest it may be necessary to consider termination of employment or redundancy.

This advice is based on legislation at the time of writing.