24TH March 2020

Further questions coming as a result of the current coronavirus crisis concern whether or not employers can ask employees to go to work during the new Lockdown.


As with so much at the present time there has been a lack of clarity.

The position changed numerous times in the space of 12 hours yesterday and there is concern that only key workers are allowed to attend work.

The distilled wisdom from yesterday’s various messages is that IT IS OK TO GO TO WORK, BUT ONLY IF THAT WORK CANNOT BE DONE FROM HOME AND IS NECESSARY.

The government has also stressed the need for workers to maintain a distance of 2 metres from each other.

If you think about it, we are switching some manufacturing to medical supplies, people still need to eat, and adhere to the law so many jobs are still necessary, even if they are not “Key Workers”.


Furlough and holidays

We are being asked if workers can take holiday while furloughed, and whether they accrue holiday during furlough.

This is no clear answer yet, but we do know that the government have said that they will leave all employment law in place which would appear to indicate that they do accrue holiday.

Our current view (just an opinion) is that they would accrue holiday and if an employee has booked holiday in the next 12 weeks and is going on furlough, pay them holiday pay for that period. If we are wrong, you haven’t lost anything and can claim back what would be the overpayment from them if it becomes a problem.

If, when more information is available, it is confirmed that employees accrue holiday during furlough, the employer is, and has always been entitled to serve a notice on the employee compelling him or her to take leave, so it can be used up in that way.

Note however that this is our best guess at a strategy while we wait for more information to become available.


Company Cars during Furlough

Before sending staff with company cars home on furlough with their vehicle, check they will be insured to drive it during the coming period.

If a car is for business use only the employer can remove the vehicle before furlough. If it is for private use, then check the insurance position.

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