Professor Roger Seifert, Emeritus Professor of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations in the Management Research Centre at the Wolverhampton Business School explains what 'furlough' is and what it means during the COVID-19 crisis.
Furlough is simply being sent home when an employment unit has shut on a temporary basis.
The employer has to select you fairly for furlough as with other employment matters, and should consult fully with those involved.
Best practice involves a letter with the start date, amount to be paid (80% by government with a top up from the employer in some cases), when it will be reviewed, and clear paths to keeping in contact.
It is not a redundancy nor is it dismissal for some other reason. You remain employed with all your rights intact, and it means that when and if the employer starts up again you are back at work in a seamless manner. This reduces costs to all involved of any re-employment issues, allows for speedy start ups, and does not adversely impact on your accrued rights.
Complications may arise if the business is shut for longer than three months, if government rules change and are varied across employment sectors, and if the employer seeks to change contracts of employment more generally to reflect the changing nature of the business operating environment.
For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.