Deal with employee furloughing using this furlough letter. Recall an employee from furlough, either on a full-time or flexible basis, re-furlough an employee that has previously been recalled from furlough, and change a flexibly furloughed employee’s hours or days of work.
When should I use a furlough letter?
Use this furlough letter:
when you want to recall an employee from furlough
when you want to put an employee on part-time (‘flexible’) furlough
when you need to change the days or hours of work for a recalled employee
when you want to re-furlough an employee
What’s included in a furlough letter?
This furlough letter covers:
the date on which the employee was initially furloughed
when the employee is expected to resume work
if the employee will be recalled part-time or full-time
what days the employee will work
where the employee will be working from
the date from which the employee will be re-furloughed
how much the employee will be paid
Why do I need a furlough letter?
Use this furlough letter when you have previously put an employee on furlough and sought support under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and now wish to change their employment status. Where you wish for an furloughed employee to return to work (on a full-time or part-time basis), you can use this furlough letter to recall a furloughed employee.
Where an employee has previously been recalled from furlough on a part-time basis, you can use this letter to change their hours or days of work if necessary. Where an employee has previously been recalled from furlough on a full-time basis, you can use this letter to place them on flexible furlough.
You can also use the furlough letter where you need to re-furlough an employee (who was previously furloughed) due to a downturn in business or closure of your business and can't afford to keep paying your employees because of Covid-19.
For more information read Furlough, workforce reduction and managing employees.
Can I furlough employees that have previously not been furloughed?
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme closed to new entrants on 30 June 2020. Employees are only eligible for furlough pay if they were placed on furlough for 3 consecutive weeks before this date.
When can an employee be re-furloughed?
An employee can be re-furloughed if they were previously furloughed for a consecutive 3-week period at any time between 1 March and 30 June 2020. Employees will not have needed to be on furlough on 30 June in order to be re-furloughed at a later date.
Should I discuss the change in employment status with the employee?
Before changing an employee’s employment status (eg by placing them on part-time furlough, changing their hours of work, re-furloughing them or recalling them from furlough) you should have a discussion with them. Inform them of the upcoming changes and explain what this means for them.
How much will employees be paid while furloughed?
Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme the Government will cover up to 80% of a 'furloughed' employee's salary, capped at a maximum of £2,500 per month.
Furloughed employees’ salaries covered by the government grant will be subject to deductions for tax, national insurance and any employee pension contributions.
Do I need to cover the other 20% of the employee's salary?
You don't have to cover the other 20% of the employee's salary. Until the end of July 2020 the Government will cover 80% of furloughed employee's pay, up to £2,500 per month.
Between August and October 2020, the costs will be shared between the Scheme and participating employers. These costs will be split in the following ways:
from August 2020, employers will be asked to pay National Insurance and pension contributions
from September 2020, the Government will cover 70% of wages (up to £2,187.50 per month) and employers will be to make a 10% contribution to the furlough pay, in addition to National Insurance and pension contributions
from October 2020 the Government will cover 60% of wages (up to £1,875 per month) and employers will be to make a 20% contribution to the furlough pay, in addition to the National Insurance and pension contributions
Employers can voluntarily make up the rest of the salary. This letter allows you to decide whether you will make up the rest of the employee's salary.
What is part-time furlough?
Part-time or flexible furlough allows employees to be furloughed on a part-time basis. Employees will be paid their usual salary in full for the days they work. For the days they do not work (ie the days the employees are furloughed) they will be covered by the Scheme.
The amount of time an employee works each week can be varied over the month, with employers varying it week by week. Employers may, for example, wish to have their employees come in for more time if their business suddenly picks up.
This means that employers can recall furlough employees for any amount of time and on any pattern of work they agree on, while claiming support from the Scheme for the hours not worked by the employee.
How much notice do I need to give an employee to recall them from furlough?
No definitive guidance is available regarding how much notice an employee should give their employee when recalling them from furlough. However, employers should give their employees reasonable notice to return to work to allow employees to make any necessary arrangements (eg child care arrangements). An estimate of the notice period employers should give their furloughed employees should be included in their Furlough letter to employees or set out in their re-furlough letter.
Should a returning employee work from home or return to the business premises?
This will depend on your business and the employee’s role, in addition to Government guidance. The lockdown restrictions will likely be lifted incrementally, and all staff who can work from home will be expected to carry on doing so. Where an employee can work from home, it may be prudent to ask them to work from home.
Where an employee cannot work from home and will be returning to the business premises, employers should consider a detailed risk management approach to ensure the health and safety of their employees. Employers should base their approach on employees returning to the workplace on the Government and public health guidance
Do I need the employee's permission to change their terms and conditions of employment ?
When you are changing an employee’s terms of employment (eg by changing their hours of work, or re-furloughing them), you will typically need to gain their consent.
The Government's guidance on support for businesses states that employers that wish to designate employees as 'furlough workers' must notify them of this change and the change in status may be subject to negotiation or contract.
Unless the employer has a contractual right to make changes to the employment terms, the employer will need the employee's agreement to do this. For example, where an employee wishes to re-furlough an employee, they will need the employee's agreement to be placed on furlough leave unless they have a contractual right to lay off workers. Similarly, the employee's agreement is needed to make a reduction in pay. For more information read Changing employment terms.
However, it is highly likely that employees will agree, if the only alternatives are redundancy or unpaid leave. It's important that if the employee agrees, you get this in writing or recorded in using this document.
Ask a lawyer for advice if:
you're unsure of the process
the document doesn't meet your needs or cover what you want
your employee refuses to return to work
the employee does not agree to be re-furloughed
the employee does not consent to the changes to their employment terms and conditions
This furlough letter is governed by the laws of England and Wales.