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Make UK has prepared three template letters for employees: a Furlough Letter, a Furlough Update Letter, and a Work Authorisation Letter.
Last updated: 14.05.2020
On Friday 20 March, the Chancellor announced a package of “temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19” including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme).
Guidance on the Scheme was last updated on 13 May 2020 and we consider its scope and application in detail in our COVID-19 FAQs. We have also produced a template letter, for employers to use when seeking to put employees on furlough leave under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This letter is based on the official guidance available as at 13 May 2020. We may update it again when the Government publishes additional guidance on the Scheme, in particular, on the operation of the proposed changes to the Scheme, which were announced on 12 May 2020 and are intended to take effect from August 2020, to allow greater flexibility and to require employers to make some contribution to employees’ furlough pay.
We are aware that thousands of you have already downloaded and used previous versions of this letter. Please note that this version reflects changes that have been made to the Government guidance on various occasions since we first produced this template letter. If you have used a previous version of this letter to place employees on furlough, you may wish to revert to them to clarify certain new points, for example: the types of pay that will be counted when calculating furlough pay; the relevant date for the calculation of furlough pay for salaried employees; employees’ ability to undertake other paid work while on furlough; and, if you operate a contractual sick pay scheme, that sick pay during furlough leave will be payable at the furlough rate.
In addition, you may wish to update employees on your intentions regarding the duration of furlough, in view of the Government’s announcement on 12 May that the Scheme will be extended to the end of October 2020 and that certain changes will be made to allow greater flexibility and to require employers to make some contribution towards the cost of furlough pay. We have produced a template furlough update letter for this purpose – see further below.
(Please also note that previous versions of our template letter referred to the possibility of backdating furlough leave where you were furloughing a former employee whom you had rehired in order to furlough them. This option was based on our understanding of the guidance available at the time. However, it appears from the latest guidance that this may not, in fact, be possible. The circumstances in which claims can be backdated are currently unclear– see also question 13(f), in the Furlough section of our COVID-19 FAQs. Clarification of this issue from Government would be welcome).
Furlough Update Letter
Last updated 14.05.2020
The Government announced on 12 May 2020 that the Scheme will be extended to the end of October 2020 and that certain changes will be made to the operation of the Scheme from August 2020 to allow greater flexibility and to require employers to make some contribution towards the cost of furlough pay. It is not yet clear exactly how these changes will operate; further guidance is expected before the end of May.
Our template furlough letter, which you may have used to place employees on furlough provided that Furlough Leave would continue until the earliest of a number of specified events. One such event was the Scheme coming to an end. In view of the Government’s announcement that the Scheme will be extended to the end of October, but subject to changes from August, you may wish to use this letter to update your employees as to your intentions regarding the duration of their Furlough Leave.
This letter is based on the official guidance available as at 13 May 2020. We may update it when the Government publishes additional guidance, in particular, on the operation of the proposed changes to the Scheme.
Work Authorisation Letter
Last updated 14.05.2020
We are aware that staff at some member companies have been stopped on the way to work by police asking if their journey is necessary. To cover this eventuality, we have prepared a template Work Authorisation Letter that could be issued to employees to show to law enforcement agencies on their way to and from work, if questioned.
We expect that the frequency of such police checks will decrease as lockdown measures are gradually lifted. However, the current advice is that people should still work from home if they can, so it is possible that employees may still be stopped and questioned. Our template letter therefore remains available should you wish to use it.
Disclaimer: These template letters require customisation to accurately reflect the situation within your organisation. You are responsible for ensuring that you fully understand the template letters and for customising them so that they are suitable for use in your organisation. The template letters do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
When using these letters, please note that wording in square brackets will require tailoring to reflect your company’s approach. We have included some brief drafting notes in red text in the Furlough Letter and the Furlough Update Letter for your information, which should be removed prior to sending these letters to employees