Coronavirus: Your workplace questions

Steve Bridger

| 0 Posts

Community Manager

26 Mar, 2020 16:59

At this difficult time, we'd like to offer people managers (and others) who are not CIPD Members an opportunity to ask questions about their specific workplace challenges.

We hope that collectively, the Community will feel able to chip in with guidance and signpost support and resources where these exist.

Thank you. 

  • Can anyone help?

    We have a member of staff who is 71 he has no medical condition however wants to self isolate due to his age, he believes he can be furloughed, we are transport company and as it stands running at full capacity so there is work to do. Due to his age is he classed as extremely vulnerable therefore can be furloughed? I see on the below list it makes no mention of age however I have heard that over 70's should be self isolating but no can't find this information on the government website? Where do we stand with this in our situation, any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • In reply to Claire:

    I looked into this . you also need to of set against how much employee is saving in fuel or travel , travel time etc . as if one equals other out you can document this and should have to start paying out for gas electric etc .
  • In reply to Anwen Howells:

    I had the same took 7 new staff on on 2nd march therefore do not qualify. We have offered unpaid leave to remain employed with us but also given permission to get work for time being with supermarkets etc.
  • In reply to Jessica:

    HI Jessica

    have a look at the fact sheet on this site for covid 19 www.cipd.co.uk/.../faqs

    Employees on who are on sick leave or self-isolating should get Statutory Sick Pay. Employers can place them on furlough leave after the sick pay period if there is no work for them to do and they would otherwise be laid off or made redundant.

    The government guidance says that employees who are shielding themselves in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough. This means employees who are extremely vulnerable (for example, due to organ transplants, lung cancer, severe chest conditions or immunosuppressed conditions) and who have been notified by the NHS to isolate for 12 weeks
  • Hi

    I have a maternity returner due back next week, She cant get any childcare and therefore unable to work from home . Reading everything ,I believe she can be furloughed ? any thoughts
  • In reply to Jemma:

    Thanks Jemma, I don't believe he would qualify for SSP, he is self isolating due to his age only, not because he or anyone in his house has shown symptoms. This is his decision not down to medical grounds either and on the list it does not state anything about over 70's.

    At this stage he would still have work to do so we wouldn't be looking at making redundancies, he is also a driver therefore cannot work from home, unfortunately it looks like he will be on unpaid leave?

    We also have a member of staff who's wife is on the extremely vulnerable list therefore he has chosen to self isolate to protect her, he has also asked to be furloughed, I explained to him we are not in a position to make redundancies as yet and therefore if he could work there would be work to do. Am I right?

    We want to help these people however we don't want to be penalized for wrongfully using the system.
  • In reply to Jessica:

    Hi Jessica

    My opinion would be that you can furlough an over 70 year old as they are following public health advice. This runs a risk of not getting the 80% reimbursed by government if in time further guidance is issued which rules this out.

    But I think as it stands you cannot furlough someone who wishes to self-isolate to protect their partner.

    I've seen no definitive answers on either question though.
  • In reply to Kim:

    Hi Kim, my husband works for the DWP Jobcentre Plus, now handling all these extra claims. Basically, yes they can put in a claim for U/C in the same way an existing worker can claim, however whether they are then eligible to receive any payment will depend on other factors such as household income if their partner is working etc.
    Hope that helps to support what others have said.
  • In reply to Lucy:

    I think you are right Lucy, that's how I've read it. The other option we considered is to ask staff to take leave during furlough but the guidelines are silent on whether this is acceptable or if going on to a period of annual leave will "break" the furlough. Or if they can take leave during the furlough, what rate is it paid out, normal pay or furlough rate...? I'm keeping a constant eye on guidance...
  • In reply to Kelly:

    Hi Kelly, I've read that you can furlough someone in their notice period so long as they reach the 3 week criteria for claiming furlough.
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    3 Apr, 2020 16:49

    Hi everyone please note we have a new CIPD webinar recording on #Furlough this was recorded live today and was oversubscribed so we wanted to share the recording with you asap so more can benefit: www.youtube.com/watch

  • In reply to David:

    This page is not longer functioning
  • In reply to Claire:

    Hi Claire, there is the converse to this, in that employees are no longer paying to commute to the office, so I wouldn't say it is necessarily unfair not to pay this amount to cover the other costs. I can see both sides...
  • In reply to Gordon Devlin:

    It seems very arbitrary and unfair but I can see why some anti-fraud criteria are needed. Imagine if the 'on payroll 28 Feb' rule wasn't there and you were an unprincipled small employer - you could put all your family and friends on payroll the day after the scheme was announced, immediately furlough them and pay them 80% if whatever your notional salary was, in effect acting as a pipeline for money to travel from the treasury to people whom you had no intention of employing in normal times.

    When the grants end, the unprincipled employer would terminate them with < 2 years service and no redundancy cost. You might say 'that would never happen' but there would be some. This is emergency payment, employers need it yesterday to stay solvent, so no chance to investigate or audit claims - the only choice is an arbitrary rule.

    Unfortunately that rule will disadvantage anyone genuinely moving jobs or starting work after 28 February - more people than you might think. A very rough estimate, employee population say 20 million (working pop is 30 million plus but that will include self employed, 'workers' and the like), labour turnover 6% so 0.5% change jobs every month, so c.100,000 people may have taken up new job offers in March and their employer won't get paid to furlough them. A fairer rule would be 'in work or holding a job offer on 28 February' but backdated job offers are far to easy to create.

    I'm afraid I can't offer any useful suggestions much as I would like to. I have no relevant state benefits expertise, sounds like Universal Credit might be the only route for them. Hopefully someone else on this forum can chip in.