You need to review the employment contracts to see if you have a clause which allows for lay-offs or short term working. If you have these clauses it should be possible to furlough the staff without their consent.
If the contracts do not have such clauses, technically you may need the employees’ consent to do this. However, such a negotiation should not be difficult considering the alternative is redundancy or no pay. We would suggest that you ask your employees to agree to the contents in your letter to them by return.
Please note that when deciding which members of staff to furlough you need to show that you have made this decision on an objective basis to ensure that you cannot be accused of any form of discrimination.
Furlough Example Letter (COVID-19)
To be written on company/business letterhead
[employee name and address]
Re: Notice of Furlough
Dear [employee name]
We regret to inform you that because of the current level of work available as a result of COVID-19, we have opted to place you on furlough (temporary layoff) during the next [number] of weeks. You are not authorised to work during the furlough without advance written authorisation from [manager, supervisor or other].
The Furlough will begin on [date]. We are hopeful that we will be able to restore you to your prior position with our company on or around [date], however, it is important to note that we reserve the right to change this date based on our business needs.
During this period: [add or remove points as applicable]
- You will retain your seniority with the company.
- The company will pay for both your portion and the companies regular contribution of your health insurance. Upon your return, you may be required to reimburse the company for the catch up contributions.
- We will pay you the statutory furlough payment of either 80% of your normal basic salary or £2,500 per month whichever is the lower amount. The normal deductions will apply.
- If you have available holiday time that you would like to use during this time, you are welcome to use such time, but are not required to do so. If you would like to use some or all of your available holiday during this time, please contact [insert name]. Holiday pay will be at your full rate.
- You may be eligible for Universal Credit during this time. We recommend contacting the job centre or Department of Work and Pensions for further information and to apply.
- It is Important to us that your transition into furlough and back to work goes as smoothly as possible. Therefore, if you have any questions or concerns regarding these transitions, please contact [insert name].
We very much appreciate all of your contributions to the organisation. We wish you all the best during this unprecedented time and are looking forward to your return to work following this furlough period.