Have you been furloughed? Here's what you should know about coming back to work

15 May 2020 COVID-19

Image by Graeme Roberts

BIGGA's HR Helpline providers Xact Group have provided advice for employees who have been furloughed as part of the Government's Job Retention Scheme.

1: How much notice should my employer give me to return from furlough or from working at home?

Currently there is no set notice period, employers should communicate regularly with their team and keep them up to speed with any developments or changes to the workplace.

Employers should also be mindful of employees with caring responsibilities and where possible try to accommodate these. Whilst being a parent is not a protected category employers should try and be as fair and reasonable as possible, can shift patterns be looked at, can a combination of home and workplace hours be carried out etc, is there a way of meeting in the middle. Likewise, employees have a responsibility to return to work when required and must remember that the furlough scheme is not indefinite.

2: Why am I returning but my colleague is staying on furlough?

Ultimately the decision as to who to furlough is at the employers choice and there may be several reasons behind decisions being made in this respect.

3: What has been done to make my role, or my workplace, safe for my return?

This is a great question and you are within your rights to ask your line manager and ensure that a COVID-19 risk assessment has been carried out to help protect your safety in returning to the workplace.

3: What if I don’t want to return to the workplace or come off furlough?

You need to have a conversation with your line manager and iron out any potential areas of concern that you may have, if there are valid reasons for your concern these should be addressed appropriately. Likewise, it is worth remembering that the scheme is short term and businesses must use it appropriately.

4: I’ve been told to come off furlough but my hours are reduced by three a week – can they do this?

If you have short time working or temporary layoff clauses within your employment contract this measure can be taken, however only as a temporary measure. You can check Gov.uk, however currently short time working or temporary layoff can only be utilised by a business for four weeks in a row or six weeks in 13 before the employee can request redundancy, a business then has a very short time frame to either give redundancy or have the employee back to their normal hours.  

If you require some HR advice please do not hesitate to contact Natalie, Alan or Tom at Xact on 01698 758179 or email nhunter@xactgroup.co.uk

Author

Natalie Hunter
Natalie Hunter
Xact Group Ltd | HR and Employment Law Consultant

Natalie comes from a varied back ground having worked as a nurse in accident and emergency before moving into corporate finance where she worked for several years before taking redundancy and retraining.  A graduate of UWS in Paisley Natalie learned her craft as an HR administrator moving up to HR and Employment Law Consultant with Xact Group Ltd. 

A problem solver, Natalie can often be heard saying "pick your battles" and "lets sit down and have an open conversation" and has the ability to see situations from both sides of the employment relationship.  These qualities make Natalie a great asset in the BIGGA/Xact partnership.

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