The latest government guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) now states that an employee can only be furloughed if the employer and employee have agreed in writing (which may be in an electronic form such as an email) that the employee will cease all work in relation to their employment”.
For quite some time now the Employers’ CJRS guidance has stated that any decision to furlough must be made with the agreement of employees and must be confirmed by employers in writing. This wording has not changed in the latest version.
However, what has changed is that the latest government guidance now states that an employee can only be furloughed if “the employer and employee have agreed in writing (which may be in an electronic form such as an email) that the employee will cease all work in relation to their employment” (para 6.7).
This latest guidance makes it clear that, in addition to written confirmation by an employer, the employee’s agreement to be furloughed must also be recorded in writing; it will not be sufficient to rely on implied consent.
Many employers will have already secured the written agreement of those employees they have furloughed and so will have complied with this latest provision.
However, many employers will have simply confirmed in writing their decision to furlough employees but not sought their express consent, perhaps because there was an express provision in the contract of employment to impose temporary layoffs, and many will have not confirmed anything in writing. For employers who fall into either of these categories, written agreement should be sought as soon as possible in order to qualify for the CJRS grant.
There does not appear to be any requirement for the written agreement to have taken place before an employee is furloughed, so arguably obtaining it after the event is still likely to be sufficient.
If you are an employer and require a written furlough agreement to ensure you are compliant and eligible to claim the furlough grant, call us now on 0800 612 4772 or Contact us via our website.