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We thought you might find it useful if we did a Coronavirus FAQ looking at some of the popular questions, employee’s have of their employer during this time.

What can I do for my employer of if I am furloughed?

Very little. You can be asked to attend meetings either in person/or virtually. You can be contacted to check on your welfare and for a general keep in touch chat.  Employer’s can’t ask you to work nor allow you to do so. Employers can ask you to undertake training within constraints of time to ensure there is no breach of national minimum wage.

Do I need to be available to return to work in case of sickness cover or an uptick in work?

Yes, as someone who is furloughed you will need to be available for work. The employer will give you reasonable notice of a return to work but they can’t always account for the times when they may need you back at short notice.  Therefore you must let your employer know if you are sick, self isolating or unavailable to return to work for some other reason.

Can I take another job whilst Furloughed?

You would need to check your contract of employment, but it is unlikely that your employer would permit you to take another job whilst furloughed from them as they will need you to be available. If you already have a second job that you do when not working for your first job, always make sure that your employer is aware of this. You may be in breach of your contract if you take a job that is viewed in competition with the other job. There is also concern when it comes to the Working Time Regulations.   If your existing second job doesnt impact your ability to work for the first role that you are furloighed from you may continue to work for this second employer. If you do take extra hours, make sure you remain available for your employer that furloughed you should their circumstances change at short notice.

Can I request holiday whilst furloughed?

Yes you can book leave and you need to remember that any leave you have already booked will in normal circumstances need to be taken. If you are now not going away you might assume your employer will allow you to cancel the leave and carry it over. This may not be possible, always check with your employer.  Holiday that is accrued and untaken can present real problems for employers.  Where the employer says no you cannot cancel booked leave you will receive 100% of your normal remumeration for the days that you are on holiday.

What do I need to do if I become unwell with COVID symptoms when furloughed?

You need to let your employer know. By doing so they will know that you are now unavailable for work should they need to lift furlough quickly and get you back to work.  Equally if you have been flexibly furloughed and have been in the workplace we need to consider whether you have been in contact with any of your work colleagues who now need to self isolate.

If I need to self isolate do I need to let my employer know?

Yes, the employer would rather know when you start to self isolate as they therefore know you are unable to come to work if they need you at short notice.

If I was previously shielding due to being clinically extremely vulnerable do I need to return to work?

Shielding was lifted for the clinically extremely vulnerable in England on 2nd December. Unless you have had a new letter from the Department of Health and Social Care we now understand you can return to work and ensure that you adhere to social distancing measures in place.

If I travel overseas over the Christmas/New Year period what evidence will my employer require if I have taken part in test to release?

Test to release is a new concept introduced to enable travellers visiting a country (not on an air corridor list) to pay to be tested enabling them to reduce their quarantine on return to the UK to 5 days.  More info here.  Employers will require evidence of your purchasing the test with the private provider in your name and evidence of the negative test result before they allow you to return to work with a shorter quarantine.

if you need any assistance with managing furloughed employees, please do not hesitate to contact me.