Furlough Leave – The ‘F’ Word – What do Employers Need to Know?

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It seems that the ‘F’ word really is the only word on every employer’s minds at present. As Furlough Leave becomes a common occurrence across all businesses large and small, many questions have been cropping up and need answering sooner rather than later to enable businesses to make significant costs savings now, in order to trade through these difficult times.

For the Latest News on Furlough Leave click here

These are some examples of those questions:

  • If an employee does not have the virus but is living with someone who does, should they be signed off sick?
  • What evidence can I ask for that an employee is genuinely ill or required to self-isolate?
  • Can an employee refuse to come to work for fear of contracting the virus?
  • If I am required to close my premises, am I still obliged to pay employees?
  • When is the Government’s ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ and when does it come into effect?
  • What does furlough mean and how is it different from being laid off?
  • Which employees are covered by the scheme?
  • Does the scheme apply to zero-hours contracts?
  • Does the scheme apply to agency workers?
  • Can we choose which employees to place on furlough and which to ask to come into work?
  • What wages will it cover? How will pay be calculated?
  • Could we temporarily increase the pay of employees so that they can recover more under the scheme?
  • Does it only apply if we don’t pay the wages – or will be able to recover wages that we have already paid?
  • Can I bring back employees who have already been made redundant?
  • What do I have to do to bring employees within the scheme?
  • Do I have to place all of my employees on furlough, or can I be selective?
  • Can we change which employees are furloughed at any one time – can an employee be furloughed, brought back to work and then furloughed again?
  • Can we place sick employees on furlough or do we have to keep paying them SSP?
  • What if a furloughed employee becomes sick?
  • Could someone return early from maternity or adoption leave to benefit from the furlough scheme?
  • The furlough scheme does not pay all of an employee’s salary – do I have to top up their pay to the full amount?
  • Can I reduce the hours that employees work?
  • What does a reduction in hours mean for pay?
  • Can I instruct employees to take annual leave while they are on furlough?
  • What about if they are off sick or self-isolating?
  • How do I stop too many employees taking what is left of their annual leave later in the year?
  • Does the prospect of the furlough scheme make it unfair to make employees redundant?
  • Can employees be furloughed during their notice period?
  • Can a furloughed employee still claim a redundancy payment if laid off for four weeks or more

I am sure you will agree these questions are extensive and getting them wrong could end up being costly for employers. The good news is that Astons Solicitors is still operating a full service and can help you answer these questions to ensure you are fully informed of the cost saving options open to you and that you are acting correctly so that Employment Tribunal claims don’t arise further down the line.

For a Fixed Fee of £250 Plus VAT we can offer the following:


  • An Hour Consultation with one of our expert Employment Law Solicitors to discuss any of the above questions (and more) and to support the process of placing staff on Furlough Leave (either via telephone or virtual meeting via Zoom)
  • A template letter for informing a member of Staff that they have been placed on Furlough Leave and a Practice Note explanation of the Agreement for you.
  • An extensive Frequently Asked Questions Document to send to Staff members who are being Furloughed

So, do you need help with Furloughing staff or have you already Furloughed but still have questions like the above?

Have you Furloughed staff but cannot be sure you have complied?

Can other cost saving measures regarding staff be taken over the coming days, weeks and months?

Don’t worry, we are here to help – It is not too late to undo any mistakes already created or to rectify any decisions that may otherwise end up costing an employer in the long term.

Call us on 01604 70099 or email info@astonssolicitors.co.uk