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Life after Furlough

As a result of the coronavirus many businesses are relying on the government’s furlough scheme (the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) to pay employees.

Since 1st September the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has paid 70% of furloughed employees’ wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 with employers making up the shortfall. At the beginning of October, the government’s contribution will reduce to 60% with a cap of £1,875, and the scheme ends completely on 31st October.

The furlough scheme was designed to protect jobs in the hope that businesses would recover. However, the UK is now in recession and many businesses have struggled to maintain revenue.  

If you are a furloughed employee, you may be concerned about what will happen to your income when the job retention scheme ends. Here we talk about the different options businesses have and what they might mean for you.

Return to work

Employers who think their business will return to normal relatively soon might consider bringing staff back full-time or offering reduced hours. If your employer would like you to return on full or reduced hours, then they will need to communicate this to you in writing along with the reasons for their decision.

Extend furlough

If an employer anticipates their business will recover, they may decide to extend furlough beyond the end of the job retention scheme – they will pay the whole wage bill themselves.

Your employer may have stated how long furlough will continue in their original letter to you. If they have done so, then they will have to agree with you verbally and in writing that furlough will be extended.

Redundancy

An employer can decide to terminate employment during the furlough scheme or after it has ended.

All employers making redundancies must comply with legislation: The Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010. The former protects employees from being unfairly dismissed and the latter prevents unlawful discrimination under protected characteristics (age, disability, gender, race and more).

Employers planning to make 20 or more people redundant over a period of 90 days or less must undertake a Collective Redundancy Consultation under the Trade Union & Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA). This applies whether or not the workforce is unionized. During this consultation period employee representatives discuss with the employer whether redundancies can be avoided, what method is used to select those to be made redundant, and the content of the redundancy package.

Failure to comply with legislation opens employers up to the risk of wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and/or unlawful discrimination claims.

Our employment solicitors can help you

QualitySolicitors Edward Hughes help employees to understand their rights and to receive a fair redundancy package. We also advise employers about their legal obligations and explain the likely outcomes.

Whether you are a furloughed employee who has been notified of redundancy or an employer considering their options after the furlough scheme, we will ensure a fair outcome for you.

Contact our employment solicitors on 01745 343661 for clear, jargon-free advice.

Posted in: Employment, Furlough

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