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Furlough leave and Government Job Scheme

Top 10 Furlough questions and answers. What is the Government job retention scheme?

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“Scheme”) makes it easier for you to hold on to your job during the COVID-19 Crisis but your employer must agree to put you on “furlough”. Your employer then continues to pay you up to 80% of your monthly salary capped at £2,500 less tax and deductions and they recoup what they pay you from the Scheme. You don’t need to apply to the Scheme, the employer does that.

What does ‘Furlough’ mean?

“Furlough” is an American term which comes “verlof”, a Dutch word which means “leave of absence”. In a typical furlough situation you are laid off or suspended temporarily, you remain employed, but you are not being paid. If your contract of employment does not allow your employer to lay you off or suspend you, then you may be able to argue that you have been dismissed and bring a claim for either “wrongful dismissal” or “unfair dismissal”.

The Scheme allows

  • your employer to furlough you without that decision being a potential dismissal and
  • (ii) you to retain your job and your rights arising from your “continuity of employment”

Can I be forced to take ‘Furlough’ leave?

No, you cannot be forced to take furlough leave.

However, if you do not agree to be furloughed, then your employer can protect themselves by deciding to dismiss you on the ground of redundancy, in which case you would be entitled to work your notice or receive a Payment in Lieu of Notice (PILON). If you have been employed for more than two complete years you will be entitled to a Statutory Redundancy Payment – you can work out how much you would be entitled to by clicking on this link to the Government calculator website page:-

https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay

Does my employer need to consult with me about putting me on Furlough?

Yes.

If your employer is behaving reasonably and does not wish to make you redundant then they will try to furlough you and allow you to be paid under the Scheme.

Most reasonable employers will consult you about putting you on furlough and obtain your agreement to that happening so that you and they can take advantage of the Scheme.

What can I do if my employer tries to lay me off and deprives me of the benefit of the scheme?

If your contract of employment permits your employer to lay you off or suspend you without pay then they could decide to do so without even consulting you. They might take this step so as to avoid making you redundant and having to pay you your notice monies and any Statutory Redundancy Payment. However this would not be a wise step.

However if your employer did not consult with you and decided to lay you off you might be able to argue that any decision to make you redundant was not fair while the Scheme is in operation. Your employer might be able to argue that they were entitled to make you redundant in any case regardless of the availability of the Scheme but that would depend on the facts of your particular case. An employer cannot be expected to remain in business simply because the Scheme is in operation. An employer could decide that it wants to close down its business for its own financial reasons and to make its staff redundant regardless of the COVID-19 crisis and the Scheme.

If your employer does not have an argument for making you redundant and still decides not to put you on furlough, thereby depriving you of the benefit of the Scheme you may be able to argue that your employer has committed a breach of the fundamental term of your contract which action entitles you to resign and present a claim for constructive dismissal.

It is important to bear in mind that the Scheme allows employers to retain employees without having to fund their salaries and any reasonable employer seeking to retain employees will seek to furlough them and take advantage of the Scheme.

We therefore consider that you could argue that there is now an implied fundamental term in your contract of employment that your employer should consider furloughing you (if they do not have a genuine case for making you redundant) so that you and they can take advantage of the Scheme rather than laying you off or suspending you without pay. Depriving you of the benefit of the Scheme would probably be a breach of a fundamental term of your contract which breach would allow you to resign and present a claim for constructive dismissal against your employer.

What can I do if I do not want to take Furlough leave?

In our view, if you are offered furlough leave and the chance to benefit from the Scheme, then you should grab it.

If you are lucky and you have the opportunity of taking up another secure job then you could resign from your current position and move to that new job. However you need to bear in mind that by moving you would lose any protections which you currently have acquired from having been continuously employed by your current employer for longer than two years.

How do I qualify for the Government job retention scheme?

The Scheme will potentially cover all staff paid through PAYE who have been on the payroll since 19th March 2020 on any type of contract including full-time and part time, agency contracts (so long as they are on PAYE contracts) and employees/workers on flexible or zero hours contracts.

You can find more guidance on the Scheme by clicking on the following link: –

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-Scheme

How much will I receive on the Government job retention scheme?

In order to qualify for the Scheme you must be placed on furlough by your employer for at least three weeks.

If you qualify for the Scheme then your employer pays you your monthly salary. Your employer then claims 80% of your normal monthly salary (subject to an overall cap of £2,500 per month) from the Scheme. Your employer also could decide to pay you more than 80% of your salary or the £2,500 monthly cap.

Please remember that you will continue to pay tax and national insurance contributions on whatever salary your employer pays you.

If I have been made redundant, can I ask my employer to take me back on Furlough?

If you were on the payroll as of 19th March 2020 and are otherwise eligible for the Scheme, your employer could review any earlier decision (made after 28 February 2020) to make you redundant and decide to take you back if they can show that the introduction of the Scheme has caused them to change their plans.

However this could be complicated by any appeal you are making arising from any decision to make you redundant in the first place. You might have a claim for unfair dismissal against your employer which could allow you to insist on a settlement where you would receive a compensation payment rather than retaining your job security for the duration of the Scheme.

How long will the job retention scheme last?

The Scheme is expected to be up and running by the end of April and will last for three months from first of March 2020.

Contact our Employment Solicitors in Ruislip, Middlesex

If you have any queries about your employment rights during the current COVID-19 crisis, please contact us. We are offering a special one off initial consultation for up to one hour (to include reading documents and discussing your matter by telephone or video link) at a reduced price of £99 plus VAT of £19.80 = £118.80, provided you instruct us by 24 April 2020.

To arrange an initial appointment, call us today on 020 3856 8156 or complete our online enquiry form and we’ll be in touch.

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Very happy going with Sethi for our house purchase, the estate agent recommend another firm but they completely messed up the other links in the chain but not Sethi who had their eye on the ball from start to finish. Misbha worked hard to help us get through before the tax deadline and helped explain the various legal issues.You may not get immediate responses but they are professionals and know what their doing - just let them get on!
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Excellent service for over 20+ years, Malcolm Turner has provided a very professional, prompt and friendly service for our family. He has dealt with 2 property purchases, 3 property sales. A Power of Attorney & a Will. He explains the transactions in a very clear precise manner and his service is extremely quick! Thank you
Cormac, Anna and Misbha were the amazing Sethi team who ensured first, that I got my house sale completed by the June stamp-duty deadline and second, when I bought another one at auction five days later, they managed to get that completed in just sixteen days following the hammer coming down! I was most impressed by the service and attention to detail of this firm on all aspects of the work they did for me. I highly recommend them if you are either buying or selling a home, or dealing with complex issues around title. Top marks. Five stars all round and thank you all very, very much, you are appreciated!
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I have been working in the property industry for over 13 years and have to say Anna Randall at the Sethi Partnership is by far and away the best conveyancing solicitor I have ever come across.I cannot recommend her enough. First class service, professional, polite and thorough.
I would not hesitate to appoint Anna again and I would highly recommend her to anyone looking into buying or selling their property. From the start to completion her services were exceptional. Very responsive and she made the journey of buying our first property stress free. It was an absolute pleasure working with her. Thank you Anna for being a superstar and working around the clock to get us into our dream place!
We were very impressed with the way our solicitor Malcolm dealt with our wills. He was very helpful and answered all our questions. He did not give us specific suggestions but helped us make up our own minds with confidence. J+S
Great Service at competitive rates. Mishba Ali was very helpful and prompt all through my dealings with her.All queries were dealt in timely manner and i would recommend her for the professional service provided and thank her for getting my paper work completed in time
We used Sethi Partnership for conveyancing and I would highly recommend Caroline Hornett-White. Caroline is very professional, efficient kept us updated and advised us where we needed through out the process. I have already recommended Caroline and Sethi partnership to my friend who will be looking at conveyancing in the future.
Anna Randall from Sethi Partnership supported in the sale of our house and purchase of our new home. It was clearly a very busy time with the rush to complete before the original stamp duty holiday deadline at the end of March, and can say that Anna was always professional balancing the communication between email and phone, and spending the time to provide advice when required.I have already recommended Anna at The Sethi Partnership Solicitors to family looking to purchase property.
I used the Sethi Partnership for the conveyancing of the sale of my house in Hatch End and was very impressed with the efficient and effective service provided. The firm carried out the sale with little fuss and with minimal input from me. They were also responsive when I had questions. Their fees were in line with their original quote and were reasonable. I have no hesitation in recommending their services.
Anna (in conveyancing) was brilliant and kept me in the loop throughout. She is very experienced and leveraged her knowledge from past cases appropriately, as well as being meticulous in her work. Thank you for all the hard work!
I was assisted by Anna Randall with my flat purchase. It was always very easy to get in contact with her by email and telephone and I received regular updates throughout the transaction. Anna's advice helped me make difficult key decisions regarding my purchase which put me in a much better position as a purchaser.
I'd highly recommend The Sethi Partnership Solicitors and in particular Anna Randall.Anna is extremely professional and most importantly responsive, we had daily call's/emails with updates regarding our sale & purchase.We cant thank you enough.
We instructed Sethi to look after the sale of our house and purchase of a different one. We were very happy with the outcome and welcomed the candid and professional advice offered about various difficulties that arose in the purchase.What stops us from giving 5 stars is that we would have preferred to have had regular updates, even if just to say that nothing had happened, and that some of the documentation we received was hard for us to follow as it was in the form of template drafts that had not been appropriately adapted for our circumstances.However, we would unreservedly recommend the company, and in particular Anna Randall, who took very good care of us throughout.
Anna Randall dealt with my house sale. Very professional and competent, would recommend her to anyone, and use her again in the future. Great service.
Anna Randall you are a star again.... extremely efficient with extensive knowledge, helped our long-winded house purchase/sale proceed to fruition despite all the pitfalls thrown at you by our buyers. Highly recommended and details already passed onto friends who are currently buying property..
We recently sold our beloved house in London right in the middle of the COVID lockdown and restrictions. Anna and team carried out a seamless job with the conveyancing from start to completion. They were responsive and pro-active at all times which was even more important when we were abroad at times. We look forward to working with you again. Thank you!
We were very happy with the way Sethi Partnership helped with the purchase of our new property.Anna was very professional and thorough in her approach which gave us extra piece of mind and security as we knew they had our best interests at heart. Would highly recommend the firm to anyone and will be sure to use them again in the future.
Anna was instrumental in making our house sale and purchase a success! She always seemed to have our best interests at heart and gave sound and timely advice with regards to some very complex matters. Excellent service and we will definitely be using The Sethi Partnership Solicitors again. Highly recommend!
I was pleased with and grateful for Caroline's work on my sale and purchase. Very responsive and provided a professional and efficient service. While other parts of the chain were being slow, Caroline was the sane voice at the end of the phone. Thanks!
We were very happy with the Probate services Malcolm Turner provided us with. He explained everything in the right level of detail and was extremely polite and understanding. The advice he gave us, and the action he took on our behalf lead to a successful conclusion of these matters. I have since recommended Malcom Turner & Sethi Partnership to friend who is now going through Probate with his Mother's estate.
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