Furlough Scheme update and answers to frequently asked questions

Following our recent Webinar for Employees and in light of the changes to the Furlough scheme coming into effect on 1st September 2020, we have put together an update in relation to this and some general advice in response to questions we are frequently being asked.

Furlough Scheme update

From 1st September 2020, employers will have to contribute at least 10% of the salary for those employee’s on the Furlough Scheme. The Government will only reimburse 70% of wages for those employees on Furlough Leave.

This will now be subject to a new maximum cap of £2,190 per month.

Employers will be required to top-up the employee’s salary to a minimum of 80%, or more subject to the agreement they have with the employee.

Ultimately, an employer will be required to pay at least 10% of the employee’s wages along with the National Insurance and pension contributions.

Frequently asked questions

Can my employer impose changes to my contract? What are my rights in relation to this?

Firstly, do you have a contract? Your contract may contain a clause which allows your employer to impose these changes, such as a “short-time working” clause. If you contract does not contain this clause it will be harder for them to impose any changes. Your employer will need to do this via a consultation and ask for your written agreement.

I do not feel safe returning to work

Employers owe all of their employees a duty of care. If you are to raise your concerns, you should not be subject to a detriment because of this. However, if your employer has complied with the Covid-19 measures and risk assessments, they do not have a duty to go beyond this, for example to arrange transport, unless there is a specific clause in your contract. Reasonable employers should take your concerns on board and offer reasonable adjustments.

Someone I live with is shielding, can I return to the office?

There is no requirement for you to stay at home, but your employer would probably advice you to stay at home. You may wish to raise a health and safety concern with them if you feel you are unfairly being made to return to the office.

I want to continue working from home

This will depend on the reason behind the request. If you have more than two years’ service, you have grounds to bring a claim for Unfair Dismissal, however this changes if you have raised a protected disclosure or you have a protected characteristic.

What redundancy pay am I entitled to?

In terms of statutory redundancy pay, you will need to have completed two years of continuous service, if you have less than two years of service you are not entitled to any redundancy pay.

If you have over two years of continuous service then as well as statutory redundancy pay, you are entitled to notice pay and any accrued holidays. There are useful calculators on the Government website to help you calculate redundancy pay and holiday entitlement.

If there is no notice clause in your contract then you will receive statutory notice, which is one week for every year of service, up to 12 weeks.

Can my employer make me use my holidays?

It is possible for you employer to legally request that you use your holidays at a particular time. They will have to give you notice and this notice needs to be twice as much as the amount of holidays they are asking you to take. For example, if they are asking you to use 5 days holiday, then they will need to give you 10 days notice.

If you are on Furlough and are being requested to use your holidays, you should be paid 100% of your normal pay for the holidays you are using.

Also, in relation to holidays, there is a temporary new law which allows employees to carry up to four weeks’ holiday over into the next two holiday years.

If you would like to discuss any of the above issues, please do not hesitate to get in touch with any members our Employment Team, via the below details:

Hannah Dowd – Solicitor

Direct dial: 0151 318 5709

Email: hannahdowd@msbsolicitors.co.uk

Amy Forshaw – Solicitor

Direct dial: 0151 230 4150

Email: amyforshaw@msbsolicitors.co.uk

We have a broad range of expertise that can help you