So it seems the weekend may have been a time for contemplation…and for plenty of incorrect information to start doing the rounds! Most noticably Corona Virus Leave types and entitlements.
Whilst the Corona Virus Act 2020 was passed last week there are still some things we don’t have a definitive answer on – more details will be contained in Statutory Instruments which are anticipated to be released this week. But that does not seem to have stopped every other person becoming an armchair expert on employment law & the Coronavirus!
In particular we expect that you may have a few employees telling you that “Martin Lewis said….” but if you are unsure what Martin said or what it means – please check before agreeing anything! We can offer HR advice by phone or video call as well as email – and we’ll tell you with honesty if there isn’t an official answer yet!
We have heard this weekend of GPs signing off employees who can still work (are not furloughed) who are not sick or in the vulnerable or high risk category but because they live with a vulnerable person – this doesn’t fit with the PHE, NHS111 or Govt guidance so again if you experience this check out the exact situation & entitlements to SSP or not. Remember even the vulnerable group are only being told to take stringent measures with social distancing not to isolate.
There has been information issued by the Govt that up to four weeks holiday can be carried over for the next two years which some believe implies that employees cannot be required to take holiday if furloughed (it is being interpreted that way by some) – the consistent opinion amongst lawyers we are consulting with is that this carry over is intended to ensure anyone who cannot take their holiday due to being needed during the Coronavirus crisis will not lose out, and that in fact employers will be able to require staff to use up holiday if furloughed. We’re hesitant to say this for definite as it has not been confirmed officially but the opinion is that as the Govt have been at great pains to say that any coronavirus actions are consistent with existing employment law and rights, that will mean you can still take holiday (employee) or require holiday to be taken if you give the correct notice (employer). We’ve written the Furlough Leave Agreement to reserve the right to require employees to take holiday and will update as we find out more.
There appears to be some disagreement about the need for collective consultation if you are furloughing more than 20 people – if this applies to you please get in touch.
Finally we’d implore you all to share some guidance with your employees urging caution about sharing health advice that is not correct or helpful!
It would be great to direct them to these three resources: