Redundancies during furlough leave

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme introduced the concept of ‘furlough leave’ to the United Kingdom. While on furlough leave, an employees remains an employee but does not complete work for their employer. They continue to be paid at least 80% of their wage, while their employer can claim this from the Government.

Furlough leave aims to reduce the number of redundancies, giving employers an alternative while the business was impacted by the pandemic – either due to a lack of demand, or temporary closure due to the nationwide lockdown. However, we’ve heard from many furloughed employees asking whether they can be made redundant while on furlough leave – the scheme introduced to prevent redundancies.

Generally, the answer to this is yes, an employee can be made redundant while furloughed. An employer can make a furloughed employee redundant at the end of their designated furlough period or during it – meaning you could serve your notice while on furlough leave.

Furlough employees have the same protection

However, it should be noted that as a furloughed employee you still have the same protection in employment law as you always have done. This means you are still entitled to consultation, a notice period or payment in lieu, and your employer must follow a fair selection process. If you have worked for your employer for more than two years and they have not followed the correct process, then you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal.

In the current climate, mass redundancies may also become more commonplace. If your employer makes 20 or more employees redundant at the same time and does not follow the correct procedure you may also be entitled to claim a protective award, even if you do not have two years of service.

Contact us

If you’re unsure of your rights as a furloughed employee, or believe your employer has not followed the correct procedure then get in touch today by contacting 01296 318 500 or email