Furlough Stories

Before the end of March 2020, the word furlough was not part of our vocabulary, now it is used multiple times a day.  Over the weeks we have got to grips with the technical aspects of the scheme, answered lots of questions, written countless letters, held numerous consultations and in doing so we have come across different sets of challenges and complexities.  We should not be surprised really as we are dealing with people and people don’t react and respond necessarily the way that we expect or want. 

 Sickness Absence

The focus of our webinar was to share some of the stories and learnings from grappling with furlough.  Laura talked through the complexities of managing furlough and sick absence which has had particular relevance in the social care sector.  In an attempt to be fair and consistent with decision making, it has given rise to a need to consider each case individually in order to find the most appropriate outcome for the employee.  This has emphasised the duty of care elements to ensure the safety and protection of employees who have underlying health conditions, which have had to be disclosed and assessed in order to make the most appropriate decision regarding employment status. 

Annual Leave

Greg shared some complexities around the management of holidays and how the guidelines were being interpreted emphasising that employees can take holidays during a period of furlough but that the employer can’t insist that holidays are taken.  In some instances, taking holidays could be financially advantageous to the employee and during the period of furlough there are four bank holidays which depending on contractual terms could be obligatory. 

Family Friendly Leave

Neil covered the intricacies of blending furlough and family friendly policies where periods of furlough work alongside maternity leave and examples of flexible working requests having to be revisited and reconsidered as the employment landscape changed dramatically almost overnight. 

All of these examples prove that there is little that is black in white in the employee relations arena.  The decisions that we make now may impact on relationships in the workplace in a post furlough world.  We therefore talked about the considerations that employers should start to take now – to settle the ball. 

We have got some time before the end of furlough 

  • Forecast financially and business model to make some predictions about the shape of the business moving forward
  • Consider the type and number of resources that you will need to fulfil business needs
  • Have an outline plan of steps you will take with your employees
  • If you are expecting employees to return to the workplace – how will you work together to stay safe?
  • How will you bring back furloughed workers?
  • How will you manage your teams and the various issues which will arise – as it is inevitable that issues will come to the surface?

Next Webinar

Next week in our webinar we will delving a bit deeper into that last point – how to manage your teams and the show effective leadership in a post furlough world.  Charlie Johnstone will be re-joining us to have a conversation with Margery, exploring the challenges and opportunities of resetting the culture, workplace and approach to management that will be more appropriate for a post furlough world.  We hope you can join us.

Date: Tuesday 28th April

Time: 12.30 pm – 1.00 pm

Register in advance for this webinar: 


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