Can employers take you off furlough without any notice?

MILLIONS of workers have been placed on the government's furlough scheme following the coronavirus crisis.

But with more and more retailers and restaurant chains reopening branches, some Brits will now find themselves going back to work.

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The coronavirus job retention scheme cover 80 per cent of staff wages, up to £2,500 a month.

The scheme had been due to end on May 31, but the government has extended it on several occasions to now plan to close it in October.

Although, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said this week that businesses will be expected to start chipping in from August.

To use the scheme, employers must furlough their workers for a minimum period of three weeks.

But what are your rights if your boss wants to take you off the scheme? Below we explain all you need to know.

How does the furlough scheme work?

ANY UK organisation with employees can apply, including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

It’s up to your place of work to apply to the scheme, meaning you won’t need to contact the government yourself.

To access the scheme, your employer must comply with the following:

  • Designate employees who cannot do their jobs due to the coronavirus measures put in place by the government
  • Notify those employees of their new “furloughed” status
  • Submit information to HMRC about furloughed employees to set up a system for reimbursement and about existing systems that will facilitate payments

To be furloughed, you must now have been on a payroll on March 19.

Workers can ask previous employers to rehire and furlough them, even if they left for another job, but firms don’t have to do this.

Can employers take you off furlough without any notice?

If your employer is taking you off furlough to bring you back to work, there is no minimum notice period, said the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

It means you'll need to be prepared to go back to work as soon as your boss asks you to, as long as the three weeks have passed.

However, Tom Neil, senior adviser at ACAS, also told The Sun "good practice would be for employers to be having conversations as early as possible with staff".

This includes conversations around plans to return to work and when that is likely to be.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) told The Sun that it's advised employers to seek a written agreement with staff to be furloughed.

And even if your boss put in a clause allowing them to call you into work immediately, CIPD is recommending them to give you at least 48 hours of notice.


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This is important in order to help people who may have childcare or other responsibilities that they need to arrange, it added.

It was feared this week that some Brits have developed "furlough fever" where they want to stay at home.

We've explained your rights if you don't want to go back to work due to health concerns or if you live with vulnerable family members.

Before your employer expects you to come back to work, it also has to implement a wide range of government measures to make it safe.

If you're being made redundant

Even though furlough is designed to keep workers employed, unfortunately it doesn't protect you from being made redundant.

But it doesn't affect your redundancy pay rights if you are let go from your job amid the coronavirus crisis.

Your employer should still carry out a fair redundancy process.

You're entitled to a consultation on the redundancy first and to receive a statutory redundancy payment, as long as you've been working somewhere for at least two years.

Your employer also needs to give you notice of at least one week if you've been employed for up to two years, ranging to up to 12 weeks if you've been at the company for at least 12 years.

If your company is making 20 or more redundancies at the same time, the collective redundancy rules apply instead.

They force companies to give 30 days notice if they're cutting between 20 and 99 jobs.

If they're planning to make 100 workers or more redundant, they must give notice at least 45 days before the first redundancy.

Employers who don't comply by the rules can be taken to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissals.

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