Furlough leave – what are my rights?

Morrish SolicitorsEmployment, Site News, Site News, Site News, Trade Unions

What is Furlough leave?

On 20 March 2020, the chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Through the scheme the government commits to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed workers, up to £2,500 per month. A furloughed worker is someone who remains employed, but is not provided with work. The aim of the scheme is to ensure that employers who cannot afford to pay staff wages do not make redundancies.

I’ve been put on Furlough leave but I want to work

Your employer will need your consent to put you on furlough leave with reduced pay, as without consent it could be a breach of contract and an unlawful deduction from wages. Although if an agreement isn’t made the alternative is likely to be redundancy.

I want to be granted Furlough leave

In the opposite scenario you cannot demand to be put on furlough leave. In this current climate you may be worried about attending work, if this is the case, you should raise your concerns to your employer and ensure they are abiding to the strict distancing guidelines outlined by the Government.

Rights of Furloughed workers

If you’re currently on furlough leave you have the same rights as you did previously. That includes Statutory Sick Pay entitlement, maternity rights, other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and to redundancy payments.

When the government ends the scheme, your employer will have to make a decision as to whether employees can return to their duties. If not, redundancies may need to be made, so it’s advised to make any possible arrangements in the event this happens.

Furlough leave for 20 or more employees

If your employer is seeking to furlough more than 20 employees, and eventually it becomes redundancy, it is possible that collective consultation obligations could apply. The consultation must begin 30 days before the first redundancy, if the consultation is too short or doesn’t happen you may have grounds for a protective award claim.

If you have any questions or concerns contact our employment rights team who can offer you expert guidance at this time.