Employment Law Update – No Cliff-Edge to Furlough and Lockdown to be Partially Lifted

Employment solicitor Vina Madhavji provides an update on the Furlough scheme and the lifting of lockdown measures.

The chancellor has confirmed in an interview with ITV this week that there will be no “cliff–edge” to the furlough scheme.  He  has stated “I’m working, as we speak, to figure out the most effective way to wind down the scheme and ease people back into work in a measured way.”

This appears to be confirmation that there will be an extension to the support received under the furlough scheme for some organisations after the end of June 2020 albeit on a modified basis.  Possible modifications to the scheme could include a reduction to the current 80% government contribution to the wages of furloughed employees, or a flexible furlough scheme whereby some employees are allowed to return part-time and remain furloughed part-time.

The exact mechanics of the amendments to the furlough scheme are yet to be confirmed by the government;  although we anticipate this information will be provided by mid-May. This is because there is a duty of employers seeking to make 99 or more employees redundant to commence consultation with employees at least 45 days before any redundancy dismissals take effect. An extension of the furlough scheme beyond 30 June 2020 would enable some businesses to continue to furlough rather than make roles redundant.

Amendments to wind-down the furlough scheme should correspond with an easing of the current lockdown facilitating the reopening of affected businesses.  On this note, a statement from the Prime Minister on the UK’s gradual return to work is scheduled for this Sunday. The PM has confirmed at prime ministers question time today that, if at all possible, some measures unwinding the current lockdown will commence from the following Monday, 11th May 2020.

For up-to-date advice on this rapidly evolving area of law contact Vina Madhavji on 01254 31 12 82, email enquiries@watsonramsbottom.com, or complete our online enquiry form and one of our experts will contact you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *