Construction industry: Flexible furlough and holiday
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was modified on 1 July 2020, so employees who have previously been furloughed can now come back to work. While employers are able to claim a CJRS grant for their normal hours not worked.
This is called "flexible furlough". There are some exceptions but this option is only available to employees who were furloughed on or before 10 June 2020.
During flexible furlough, employees will continue to accrue holiday, the employee can request and, if approved by the employer, take leave.
Employers can also require employees to take holiday during flexible furlough. Unless there are other rules, for example, within the contract or handbook, there is advice regarding “how leave can be requested”, the employer is required to give the employee twice as much notice as the holiday period. So, if an employer requires them to take 1 week’s leave, they must be given 2 weeks’ notice.
Recent government guidance makes it clear that holiday can continue to be taken during non-working days under the flexible furlough arrangements. It is clear within the guidance that it would be an abuse of the scheme for an employer to place employees on furlough because they are on holiday or for the purposes of taking leave.
Employers should ensure they have evidence of all holiday requests in writing. This is to make sure, if challenged, they can show they did not deliberately place the employee on furlough during holiday.
If you require further advice or guidance on this subject, please contact me or another member of our specialist Employment Law Team.