Job Retention Scheme (furlough leave)
Furlough leave is where you agree not to work but are entitled to receive at least 80% of your normal salary up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The minimum time that you must be on furlough is 3 weeks. Your employer can then either extend or ask you to return to work. You continue to accrue employment rights, including annual leave, during furlough leave.
It appears that your employer can ask you to take annual leave during furlough. HMRC has confirmed that you should receive 100% of your normal pay for days taken as annual leave during furlough.
If you are sick during furlough, guidance suggests that your employer can decide to keep you on furlough leave and pay or take you off furlough and pay you sick pay.
If you are on parental leave, you will be paid statutory pay under the same rules as you would have prior to the coronavirus outbreak. If your employer pays enhanced contractual parental leave pay, you will be entitled to receive this, but your employer may place you on furlough to recover the enhanced maternity pay from HMRC.
It is possible, subject to the terms of your contract for you to take paid work elsewhere whilst on furlough and do voluntary work and some types of training
As part of a redundancy consultation process, you can suggest ways for your employment to continue. You are entitled to suggest that you are put on furlough and/or offer to waive payment of salary until your employer has funds from HMRC if their cash flow is the issue. Employers are under no obligation to place you on furlough. However, they should consider all options, and if they make you redundant without considering putting you on furlough, this might be unreasonable and an unfair dismissal.
If you are made redundant, you will be eligible for a statutory redundancy payment where you have been employed for over two consecutive years, based on your usual pay.
Short-time working and layoffs
Your employer can put you on short-time working or lay you off where they are permitted to by a provision in your contract of employment, or by a collective agreement. In the absence of either, an attempt by your employer to do this will amount to a breach of contract.
Your employer may seek your agreement to change your contract of employment, but you are under no obligation to accept a change. However, your employer is likely to be suggesting a temporary reduction in hours and pay to avoid redundancy and so if you refuse the changes, your employer may then commence a consultation process for redundancy.
If you require more advice on furlough leave or any employment matter, please contact the team at Debenhams Ottaway.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.