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Document updated/added on 07.11.2020

Topic: Changing terms & conditions and TUPE

Letter seeking agreement to full furlough
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Letter seeking agreement to full furlough

Letter seeking agreement to full furlough

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended until 31 March 2021 and it still enables you to fully furlough employees during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, provided they don’t do any work for you. Our letter guides you through seeking employee consent to a full furlough arrangement.

Consent

The CJRS is to remain open until 31 March 2021 and it still enables employees to be fully or flexibly furloughed. Where you have no work for them to do, you will need to consider full furlough. Under the rules, you need to agree with your employees any full furlough arrangement and confirm that agreement in writing. In addition, placing an employee on full furlough at less than 100% of their pay requires either a term in their employment contract permitting this or their express consent. Without this, you risk a breach of contract, unlawful deductions from wages and/or constructive dismissal claim. So, our Letter Seeking Agreement to Full Furlough is intended to obtain the employee’s consent in writing, both to the proposed full furlough and to the maximum amount of wages you’ll be paying during it. Keep a record of your communication for five years. Note also that if 20 or more staff are involved, you’ll additionally need to comply with collective consultation obligations as they apply to changing terms and conditions of employment, if your other option to non-consent is going to be staff redundancy. If you do have some work for employees to do, but not for their full usual hours, you can seek their agreement to a flexible furlough arrangement (see our Letter Seeking Agreement to Flexible Furlough). To be eligible for the extended CJRS, employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on 30 October 2020, but they don’t need to have been furloughed previously, and neither do you need to have previously used the CJRS.

Pay position

For claim periods running to 31 January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual pay, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, and this will be funded by the government by way of grant. You only need to cover employers’ NI and employer pension contributions. The government will then review the policy in January 2021 to decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more.

Letter contents

Our letter sets out how long you expect full furlough to last and in what circumstances it would end, what the employee would be paid during it (essentially 80% of their usual pay, subject to the cap), and confirmation that the employee can’t currently work, even from home, during full furlough. It then asks the employee to sign and date the attached acceptance slip to confirm they’re willing to accept the full furlough arrangement you’ve proposed. While an employee is on furlough, their employment contract continues and they retain their statutory and contractual employment rights, e.g. they’ll continue to accrue annual leave and you must maintain their contractual benefits, such as private medical insurance, unless agreed otherwise.

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