A duty to furlough?


Why should the public subsidise a job which is redundant

Author: Kiril Moskovchuk
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 8 months old.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

It can only be expected that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, disputes regarding job losses will end up before employment tribunals. The decisions of such cases are already starting to come through.

In the case of Mhindurwa -v- Lovingangels Care Limited, the tribunal considered whether the employer had a duty to furlough an employee as an alternative to redundancy. The official government guidelines always emphasised that the decision of whether an employee should be put on furlough is for the employer to make at their own discretion.

Somewhat surprisingly, the tribunal’s decision in this case suggested the employer had a duty to consider putting an employee on furlough to avoid redundancy, but it also had a duty to furlough the employee in the absence of a good reason not to do so. This decision will very likely be reviewed on appeal. As it stands, the outcome appears to be at odds with the government advice and makes little sense from the employer’s perspective. Why would the employer, whose business has been badly affected by COVID-19, keep someone employed if, in fact, there is little or no work for this employee to do and the prospects of business recovery remain unknown at best? Equally, why should the public subsidise a job which is redundant? This outcome was one of the early decisions made in relation to furlough and redundancy and hopefully, will not be followed by other employment tribunals.

Profit Box

Develop your people like your business depends on it

What most people don’t know is that talent development doesn’t have to be complicated, high risk or expensive. Once they integrate key development stages, the results can be remarkable. Empower your team. Lead your industry. We’re your strategic learning partner, driving performance by moving skills forward.

Kiril Moskovchuk

Legal Advisor

Read more by this author

Getting in touch

You can contact us via the form or you can call us on 01480 455500.