There’s a bit for you to consider before you send your first furlough letter.
For those employees with a contractual lay-off provision, consider…
- Whether you still need to ask employees for their agreement to designate them a furloughed worker, or can you just write to them informing them of their new status.
- Whether you understand fully a furloughed worker’s rights to ask for a redundancy payment after four weeks of furlough (only relevant to those employees with a lay-off provision within their contract).
For those employees without a contractual lay-off provision, consider…
- Are you going to ask them to confirm their written agreement to the changes? If so, how do they do that?
- Does their employment contract state how you need to effect the contractual change? In which case, are you going to be able to comply?
- If employees don’t confirm their agreement to the change, how are you going to show they have impliedly accepted?
- What are you going to give to the employee in return for changing their status to a furloughed worker (legally you need to give them something for the change to be enforceable)?
- Are you clear on what the alternatives are to furloughed working for those employees who don’t accept the change?
Either way, consider…
- If you are going to top up pay beyond the amount you’ll be reimbursed from the government, do you want to set out terms in respect of that top up?
- Are you clear on what you’re going to pay each furloughed worker (80% pay, £2500, more, less) and what is included within that pay (pension contributions, employers national insurance)?
- Do you need to split furloughed workers into categories (those that fall above and below the £2500 contribution from the government, for example) and treat them differently?
- How are you going to deal with any benefits the employee is entitled to during furloughed work?
- How can employees secure quick answers to their questions or object to the change?
- Have you been clear to managers about the rules around furloughed working and what they should and shouldn’t be saying to their teams?
- Are you clear on how you’re going to select some employees and not others for furloughed working?
- How are you going to communicate with those employees who are absent?
- Are you going to set out when you anticipate the furloughed leave will end?