June 4, 2020

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme introduced the concept of ‘furlough leave’ to the United Kingdom, in an effort to reduce job losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

While on furlough leave, an employee does not complete work for their employer – but remains employed by them and continues to be paid, while the employer claims 80% of the employee’s wages from the Government. These measures were introduced quickly as the pandemic progressed, but the speed at which the situation developed left many employees unsure about their rights.

One of the main questions we’ve heard is:

Can I be made redundant while on furlough leave?

Furlough leave was introduced to help prevent redundancies, allowing employers to place employees on furlough leave when a reduction in work available/service demand or inability to work due to the nationwide lockdown may have led to redundancies. However, the current Government guidance is that furloughed employees can indeed be made redundant, either during furlough leave or at the end of it. This means that you could serve your notice while still on furlough leave.

It should be noted that furloughed employees still have the same protection in employment law. So you are still entitled to consultation, a notice period or payment in lieu, and your employer must follow a fair selection process. If you have worked for your employer for two years or more, including the time you’ve been furloughed, and feel they have not followed the correct process, then you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal.

Additionally, if your employer makes 20 or more employees redundant at the same time, furloughed or not, and does not follow the correct procedure you may also be entitled to claim a protective award.  You do not need two years service to pursue such a claim. If you are currently on furlough leave and are facing redundancy, our team are on hand to discuss your rights. We understand how difficult facing redundancy can be and our expert team is dedicated to ensuring you’re treated fairly throughout the process. Get in touch today by emailing enquiries@terry-jones.co.uk

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