Being Furloughed : What does it all mean?

Furloughing has seen an increase in times of coronavirus. It is a way for employers hit by coronavirus to retain their employees with unpaid leave. Find out what you can do if you are furloughed.

Coronavirus is bringing many challenges to individuals and organisations. With new measures being announced by the government and the easing and changing of rules it can be hard to keep up with the rules surrounding your job.

Furloughing is being talked about for what might seem like the first time for some of us. Many employees are now being furloughed after first hearing the term only a couple of weeks ago. Below we uncover what it is and what it could mean to you. If you have individual questions or concerns we always recommend contacting ACAS and/or the Citizens Advice Bureau

What is furloughing and what does it mean to you?

To furlough is to give a leave of absence to staff. It has historically been a way for organsiations to give unpaid leave to staff during times where business is slow. Furloughing will save businesses money without initially having to lose employees, and can be used as a short term measure to cut costs during turbulent times.

If you have individual questions or concerns we always recommend contacting ACAS and/or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Furloughing and Coronavirus

The UK Government has set up the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as a temporary measure. It is allowing Businesses to furlough staff and claim 80% of the wages back. Staff furloughed under this scheme will receive at least 80% of their wages whilst furloughed (i.e. not at work). At present the scheme is being made available for at least three months.

What employment rights do you have if you are furloughed?

If you are furloughed you are still covered by your usual employment rights. That includes:

  • Statutory Sick Pay entitlement
  • Maternity rights
  • Other parental rights
  • Rights against unfair dismissal
  • Rights with regards to redundancy payments.

Who is eligible for furlough?

This scheme covers employees who have been paid through PAYE before 29th February 2020 and who have a UK bank account.

Your employer will apply for this on your behalf and will be able to confirm how it works for you.

If this doesn’t cover you, you can find out what measures are in place for you.

Will I lose my job if I am furloughed?

In short, that is unclear and it is likely to be a question that your employer does not have the answer to right now. This measure is an exceptional scheme from the UK Government and we do know that being furloughed doesn’t automatically mean you will lose your job.

Can I get a new job if I am furloughed?

If you find yourself in need there are circumstances where you can find other work but you should always check with your employer first. These times are uncertain and the usual guidelines are being amended and are likely to provide some flexibility if you remain open and honest with your employer. The work you do choose to do should be different from your current role AND outside of your typical working hours.

What should I do during furlough?

Being furloughed is a HR process and you need to make sure you are following the rules. Whilst you can stay in contact with staff and HR you should not be working. Make sure that your company has all the right contact details to you and clear guidance on when you are to check in with them, handover any work and make sure your notes are up to date and then turn your machine off, do not be tempted to just log in to do a few bits. Breaking these rules wont help you or your employer long term.

In the meanwhile it is important that you look after yourself and your wellbeing.

Coronavirus advice for employers and workers

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For more information, please email or call 01536 513388.

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