In this article, we'll also discuss options for furloughed workers as to rights & responsibilities, working somewhere else etc.,
A furlough is a temporary leave from work that is not paid and is often for a set period of time.
Amidst this coronavirus pandemic, while some people are able to work from home, there are of course many jobs that don't allow for that. Industries hit hardest by the pandemic include retail, transportation, restaurants, and travel.
As many people are staying at home and social distancing, companies are having to suspend the work of most of their employees, sending them home without pay - that's the meaning of furlough.
There are some key differences between a furlough and a layoff:
Typically, an employer will use a furlough to retain staff that they can't afford but don't want to lay off.
According to Wikipedia, the word 'furlough' was used until at least 1908 to describe military personnel home on leave. It has recently been used frequently in the United Kingdom by the government, to describe measures introduced to support employers and workers in response to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Up until the pandemic outbreak, the use of the word 'furlough' was relatively uncommon.
The goal of an employee furlough is to save money for the company or organization by lowering employee salary expenses.
Under the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers can access financial support to continue paying part of worker's salaries who would have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Those classified as furloughed workers remain on the payroll and do not lose their job.
This article answers many of the top questions related to the UK furlough scheme.
Furloughed employees are not allowed to work for the company for the duration of the furlough, even if they can or want to.
Under the 'no work rule', a furloughed employee can't so much as take a phone call or answer e-mails for five minutes.
Individuals are able to do training or volunteering, as long as they are not making money or providing services for the employer or a company linked to their place of work.
Furloughed employees may be able to work for another employer, providing it does not breach their contractual obligations with their current employer.
Being on furlough means you are still employed under contract by your employer, therefore, you should speak to your employer first as you are technically still working for them.
Individuals should only work outside of the hours they would normally work in their usual job. For example, taking on a weekend or evening job may not breach obligations if your contract stipulates a 9am to 5pm working day.
Furloughs are typically a response to poor economic conditions for a specific employer or in the economy as a whole.
People tend to associate furloughs with government shutdowns or a recession. Both public and private employees can be placed on furlough.
Some businesses, like landscaping and construction companies, practice regular furloughs during seasons when business is typically lower (e.g. weather conditions change). Of course, these situations are usually easier for employees to prepare for because they know they're coming up every year.
I hope this article helped you get a better understanding of what a furlough is. Thanks for reading!
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