DLP Quick Answers
Obviously, we love to hear from our clients regularly, but appreciate a lot of you have started the call with asking similar questions. Below are a list of generic answers to questions we were most asked in April.
Can I work whilst I am furloughed?
The government have been clear that you are unable to work or generate income for your employer whilst you are placed on furlough leave.
However, you are allowed to work and be paid from other, non-linked organisations on a temporary basis where there is no conflict with your contract of employment and the new temporary employer is aware of the furlough situation.
Do employees continue to accrue holiday entitlement whilst they are furloughed?
Can I volunteer whilst I am furloughed?
Yes, you are able to volunteer (unpaid) for an external organisation not connected with your employer.
Can I volunteer for my own business or associated business or organisation?
You can’t volunteer for your own company or any company which is related or linked to it—essentially, any work which would otherwise be paid. So that means if there is voluntary work and money from commissioners, stakeholders etc.—it would suggest the original furlough wasn’t genuine.
Can I hold a formal procedure (disciplinary hearing, grievance hearing, appeal, redundancy termination etc.) over the phone?
Yes, in these uncertain times, a face to face meeting is of course not practical. However, this does not mean that HR issues have to be placed on hold. In the interim and during this crisis, we can hold meetings and hearings via a modified procedure in two ways (subject to the employee’s agreement).
These can be held in two ways, either over the phone, on Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or various other media outlets. Alternatively, the hearing panel can ask questions and send them to the employee via email or post, in essence, giving the employee an opportunity to answer as they would in a face-to-face hearing or indeed over the phone. Our advice would be to all business to proceed with HR issues in line with your policy and procedures and seek assistance, do not put HR issues to one side as the issues have the potential to escalate.
How can I, as an employer, continue to support my staff and their wellbeing now they are home workers?
Keep in regular contact with staff, have virtual tea breaks, say morning over email or give them a call. It is true these are challenging times for employees both professional and personally. If an employee seems to be struggling, have an informal welfare meeting and if required and more support needed then consider obtaining an Occupational Health Report to see what further support can be offered. It is true we are all in this together and we need to look out for our staff and colleagues now more than ever.
Irrespective of how small a HR issue you think it may be, pick up the phone and speak to an HR advisor.
Cover photo courtesy Emily Morter via Unsplash