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.
Latest on Coronavirus/Covid-19
- McClune v FORRME Ltd 
- Are Our Schools Ready for a Post-Covid World?
- Hamilton v Babylife Ltd 
- If employees have been working from home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, can they argue that, through custom and practice, it has become a term of their contract of employment that they are entitled to work from home on a permanent basis?
- The Struggle to Find a New Normal – Pandemic Management in Schools
- Looking Back And Forward - Beyond The Pandemic
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.