In this current Covid-19 pandemic, there are lots of questions that employees are currently facing in respect of being furloughed. A common question amongst the employees; can I ask to be furloughed?
The sun is shining and most of the country (or so it seems) is at home. You don’t want to go to work and want your employer to place you on the furlough scheme. You will take 80% of your salary in exchange for some down time. Can you insist on being furloughed?
The simple answer is, NO! You cannot insist your employer to furlough you. It is up to your employer to decide who should be subjected to furlough leave. It would be ideal for your employer to consult with you before furloughing you. At all given times, when selecting someone for furlough leave an employer should base their decision on the needs of the business. The employer should consider fair and non-discriminatory criteria prior to deciding who they intend to furlough. Given the current Covid-19 pandemic, if your employer has an adequate amount of work coming in and the business needs the support of the employees to carry out that work, your employer may not want to furlough you. That is a reasonable working request by your employer. Wherever possible, they need to adhere to the Government social distancing rules and put in places measures to protect you.
If you do not want to go to work as you are worried about catching the virus, then raise any concerns you have with your employer. However, if the business needs you in and protective measure can be put in place then your only option of staying off work would be to either use your holiday entitlement or ask your employer for unpaid leave (subject to their agreement).
In the current economic climate, some employers are making employees redundant, rather than putting them on furlough leave. Is there any requirement for an employer to put an employee on furlough leave rather than making them redundant?
In this Covid-19 pandemic, it is very uncertain if employers are required to put employees on furlough leave rather than making them redundant. This may be something the employer can discuss with you rather than making you redundant. Although there is no obligation on your employer to follow such an approach, they must follow unbiased procedures in selecting those whom they wish to make redundant and at all given times the employer should try and adopt an approach alternative to redundancy. The employer should pay closer attention to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, as it may save the employee from redundancy.
There may be some employers who will choose to make their employees redundant, rather than applying for the furlough scheme. If you are given a notice of redundancy or have been made redundant after 28th February 2020, your employer can put you on furlough leave, but this is at the discretion of your employer. The government aims to make employers understand that the scheme has been put into place to protect the business from closing and making redundancies. If an employer is having cash flow problems and cannot afford to pay the employee and it seems very likely that the role will no longer be required or the business is closing then the employer may choose to make redundancies instead. However, there is a possibility that if you do not utilise the scheme when it is available to you, as an employer you may have to explain why.
At present many employers are suffering from cash flow issues and until the scheme is granted to your employer, they may not be able to pay you. In such a case, you can agree to defer being paid until your employer receives the necessary funds from the government scheme.
Please contact Nayyars Solicitors on 0161 225 1223, if you wish to seek employment advice.