Can we keep in contact with employees who are furloughed?Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 5 May 2020
The employer guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) states that an employee must not carry out any work for their employer while they are on furlough leave. The guidance stipulates that an employee must not make money for or provide services to the employer’s organisation (or any associated or linked organisation).
However, the CJRS guidance does not state that an employer cannot keep in touch with furloughed employees. In fact, many employers will wish to keep some form of contact with their employees to ensure that communication channels prevail for the duration of the furlough leave. It is possible that the furlough agreement/letter issued to employees will state that employees will be kept informed and updated throughout their furlough leave.
Therefore, there is nothing in the guidance that prevents furloughed employees from:
(a) Assisting in HR matters such as providing evidence in disciplinary or grievance proceedings;
(b) Being kept up-to-date with any workplace developments including those related to COVID-19; and/or
(c) Participating in any “virtual” social events.
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