Coronavirus National Crisis – Furlough Leave

Pattinson & Brewer Solicitors – Employment Law Fact Sheet

Coronavirus National Crisis – Furlough Leave

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to propel the UK into unprecedented times, our employment team at Pattinson & Brewer are busy working hard behind the scenes to bring you the latest need-to-know information.

Furlough Leave

We are all now familiar with the need to ‘stay at home’ in order to try and slow the spread of the virus, which means many of us cannot attend work as normal. As part of its measures to try and distil the impact on the workforce, the government announced a “Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme” which will see any employee currently paid via the PAYE system guaranteed their wages up to 80% (capped at £2,500).

Here’s what you need to know:

  • If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it can elect to ‘lay off’ its staff temporarily (you would be classed as furloughed) rather than make redundancies;
  • You will remain employed by your employer and kept on your employer’s payroll during this time but you must not carry out work for them;
  • Your employer can claim a non-repayable grant of up to 80% of your wages (capped at £2,500) and if it can, it can elect to make up the difference to pay your entire wage;
  • If you consider you may struggle under this scheme, you can also make an application to Universal Credit to see if you qualify for additional support; and
  • The scheme is intended to run for 3 months and has a start date of 1 March 2020.

What do I do now?

Firstly, talk to your employer and try to do this as soon as possible. Selection for furlough should be based on your job responsibilities and whether you would be otherwise laid off or made redundant and your employer will need to get your written consent to such, having discussed all of your options with you.

Once it is agreed you will be furloughed, your employer must sign on to an online portal in order to inform HMRC of your new employment status.

What if I am laid-off/made redundant instead?

The whole purpose of this government package is to avoid redundancies and lay-offs at a time of national crisis. If your employer is refusing to access the grant, even though you consider you fit the criteria for being furloughed you may be entitled to bring a claim in the employment tribunal. Ordinarily you would have three months less one day to submit your claim.

However, in the first instance please redirect your employer to the following link which should help them to understand the scheme a bit better. If you are still experiencing difficulties please contact our free helpline on: 01904 528031.

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