Can you be made redundant while on furlough leave?

June 10th, 2020

Before the coronavirus pandemic, it is very unlikely that the average employee in the UK would have known what ‘being furloughed’ meant. ‘Furlough’ itself was predominantly an American term, until the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme introduced the concept of ‘furlough leave’ to the United Kingdom.

While on furlough leave, an employee does not complete work for their employer – but remains employed by them and continues to be paid, while the employer claims 80% of the employee’s wages from the Government. The aim of this was to reduce redundancies, allowing an individual to remain employed while reducing the financial strain on their employer.  It is estimated that around 20% of employees in the UK have been placed on furlough leave; however we’ve heard from many people who are unsure about their rights.

One question we’ve head in particular is: can I be made redundant while furloughed?

Currently, the Government guidance is that furloughed employees can be made redundant. This can happen both at the end of a designated furlough period, and during it – meaning  you could serve your notice while still on furlough leave.

However, as a furloughed employee you do remain an employee. This means you have the same protection in employment law and 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 > two years and feel they have not followed the correct process, then you may be able to claim for unfair dismissal. Additionally, 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

If you are currently on furlough leave and are facing redundancy, our team are on hand to help you through this time. We understand how difficult facing redundancy can be and our expert team is dedicated to ensuring you’re treated fairly throughout the process. Get in touch today on 02392 98 1000 or email connect@verisonalaw.com