Monday, 16 November 2020

Furlough Guidance for Employers

If you are Furloughing employees from 1 November then you must agree any changes in their terms of employment with them in advance.

Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

To be eligible for the grant, employers must have confirmed to their employee (or reached collective agreement with a trade union) in writing that they have been furloughed. You must:

make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
keep a written record of the agreement for five years
keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working)

The employee does not have to provide a written response and you do not need to place all your employees on furlough.

You can:

Fully furlough employees - they cannot undertake any work for you while furloughed full time
Flexibly furlough employees - they can work for any amount of time, and any work pattern but they cannot do any work for you during hours that you record them as being on furlough

If you flexibly furlough employees, you will need to agree this with the employee (or reach collective agreement with a trade union) and keep a new written agreement that confirms the new furlough arrangement. You will need to:

make sure that the agreement is consistent with employment, equality and discrimination laws
keep a written record of the agreement for five years
keep records of how many hours your employees work and the number of hours they are furloughed (i.e. not working).

Employees cannot undertake any work for you during time that you record them as being on furlough.

Where consistent with employment law, any flexible furlough or furlough agreement made retrospectively that has effect from 1 November 2020 will be valid for the purposes of a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme claim as long as it is made according to the conditions above. Only retrospective agreements put in place up to and including the 13 November 2020 may be relied on for the purposes of a claim.

See:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#agreeing-to-furlough-employees

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