Employment Q&A for Furloughed Staff During COVID-19

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Help is being offered for employers and furloughed employees who are grappling with multiple questions when it comes to managing the new furlough process.

Gilson Gray has issued guidance on the main points from new Government advice for employers and furloughed employees, covering such issues as can employees take on an additional job, does salary include benefits, what happens to holiday leave?

Graham Millar, Employment Law Partner at Gilson Gray, said employers and their employees can now be better informed on key issues around calculating salaries, additional work, and holiday entitlements.

Graham said: “Furloughed employees are now expressly allowed to take on additional employment for different employers, but only if their old employment contract allows it. If your contract doesn’t mention additional work, your employer is able to change it to allow you to take on a second job.

“For employers calculating a salary, you can’t include non-monetary benefits, like the value of a company car, within the 80% payment rule. Whether you can include car allowances remains to be clarified by the Government.

“It’s good news for employees whose income relies on commission payments – your employer can add in “compulsory”, meaning contractual, commission from HMRC as well as your basic salary before calculating the 80% figure.”

More good news comes for employers of smaller businesses, as the Government has now said employees can be furloughed multiple times, as long as each furlough period is a minimum of three weeks. This allows employers or smaller businesses to rotate their available workforce.

Graham added: “There’s still no formal guidance on the issue of holiday leave and holiday pay for furloughed workers, which means the Working Time Regulations still apply as normal.

“Under those regulations, employers can tell employees when to take holidays if they give enough notice, and a lot of employers will want employees to use some of their accrued holidays during furlough so they can avoid weeks’ worth of holiday requests after the lockdown has ended.

“While the Government has extended how long you can carry holidays for, it makes sense for people to use holidays while on leave – but questions remain as to whether holiday pay affects ‘salary’ in terms of the Job Retention Scheme. We’re hoping this will be clarified soon.”

A full version of this guidance is available on https://gilsongray.co.uk/insights/covid-19-governments-job-retention-scheme-what-about-holiday-leave-and-holiday-pay/

The Employment Team at Gilson Gray will continue to publish updates and information for employers and employees on its website News and Insights blog, https://gilsongray.co.uk/news-insights/

All of the teams at Gilson Gray are continuing to maintain the firm’s excellent, high quality service to clients, providing a full range of legal services throughout the pandemic.

For more information on Gilson Gray and its services, please visit: http://gilsongray.co.uk/