Coronavirus and Employment Law
As you can imagine, the majority of our current enquiries relate to the Coronavirus lockdown and the associated influence on employment status. We have therefore put our most common enquiries, with summary answers, below;-
1. Question – What is ‘furlough’?
Roper James – The Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme allows employers to temporarily ask employees to stay at home (furlough). If you are placed on furlough leave, you cannot undertake any work for your employer but you can take paid work from another source.
Remember – Furlough is a voluntary arrangement
Your employer will claim a grant equivalent to 80% of your wage from the government. They may pay the extra 20% but they are not obliged to do so, even if it means that you will receive less than the minimum wage.
The figure (80%) will usually be taken from your average monthly wage for the 2019/2020 tax year. The figure does not include tips and other discretionary payments.
2. Question – How does my employer furlough me?
Roper James – In order to furlough you, your employer must have provided a written agreement for your to sign. You should retain a copy of the agreement
The existing guidance is that the furlough period must be for a minimum of 3-weeks and can be backdated to 01 March 2020.
3. Question – What is the difference between furlough and lay off?
Roper James – In simple terms, Furlough is similar to being ‘laid off’ but if you are laid off, you are generally not paid.
If you have been laid off, contact you employer immediately to ask to be placed on the furlough scheme. You can only be laid off without pay if there is a clause in your contract to permit it. Furlough is a much more attractive option to employers.
4. Question – I was made redundant because of the coronavirus, what can I do?
Roper James – Contact your employer immediately and ask to be placed on the furlough scheme, providing you were made redundant on 01 March 2020 of after.
If the company is closing down / your role is no longer required, you are entitled to your redundancy and notice pay entitlement.
5. Question – What if I am on sick pay (SSP)?
If you were signed off sick before 01 March 2020 (and not signed fit to return), you will receive statutory sick pay.
Furlough payments will be made when you are fit to return, providing the correct process has bene followed (see above).
6. Question – Who can be placed on ‘furlough’ leave?
Roper James – The scheme provides a wide ranging facility for employers to p[lace employee on furlough leave, This should include any staff who cannot undertaken their role because of the coronavirus, staff who cannot attend work because they are on the ‘vulnerable persons list, or staff who have legitimate health concerns.
7. Question – What about holiday pay / parental leave?
Roper James – This is currently a grey area and we are waiting for further guidance.
8. Question – I have been ‘unfairly selected’?
Roper James – If you feel that you have been unfairly selected, please contact us for advice.
9. Question – I am self-employed, what can I do?
Roper James – Consult the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.
If you have any questions, please contact our employment team – mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org