The Treasury, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, has issued directions on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “Scheme”):
In the current uncertain times, with the Coronavirus lockdown and impact this has had on businesses, the Government has introduced The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to try and safeguard jobs. It is a temporary scheme which will have back-dated effect from 1 March 2020 and will run for at least three months, to 31 May 2020. As it is a new scheme, the Government are having to design both it and the implementation system from scratch but the hope is that it will be up and running by the end of April 2020.
In updated Guidance issued by the Government on Friday evening, they have stated that an employee can be furloughed multiple times. That is, they can be furloughed, brought back to work, then re-furloughed (as long as each furlough period is at least three weeks). This would allow employers to rotate employees who are on furlough. While this would add to the employer’s administration, it may be beneficial from an industrial relations point of view. Subject to the final legislation, we understand:
If an employee is placed on short-time working/reduced hours rather than furlough, the employer will not be able to claim under the furlough scheme in relation to that employee.
If you wish to furlough an employee, or are an employee whose employer wishes to furlough them, we are here to help you through the process. Employers need to follow employment law to protect themselves against any unfair dismissal and/or discrimination claims. Please contact Alison Gair on 0118 912 0300.