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Furlough am I being rude asking

(33 Posts)
seastar Wed 17-Jun-20 01:39:48

Two questions:
1) Should I not ask who is on furlough in my department? I'm on furlough and I wanted to know if I'm the only one. I asked my manager via email and he has just ignored me but he has responded to other people's emails about other topics. Is it not PC to ask who else is furloughed?

2) The company I work for say they are struggling for money even though they made record profits last year and are managing to cope at the moment on half a work force. The other half on either on furlough or are shielded. They are keeping the latter off work. There is a hint that redundancies will be made. Can they just target the furloughed and shielded people with redundancy?
I have tried to find out and my manager is annoyed with me asking questions.
Can I apply for other jobs whilst furloughed?

I thought I'd ask the gransnetters as my boss is not being helpful and he is not calling back any furloughed people. So, I'm worried.

OceanMama Wed 17-Jun-20 02:11:33

Chances are your boss doesn't know the answers to your questions. Privacy reasons may prevent him telling you who is furloughed.

I have no idea about the legalities, but I would think you could apply for other jobs while on furlough just like you could if you were actively working. Just give the normal notice.

Grandad1943 Wed 17-Jun-20 08:27:17

seastar, you have every right to enquire as to what is happening in regard to your furlough, and your employer would be under a legal obligation to reply to such a request. Should your employer decide there is a redundancy situation within your workplace, then the situation becomes far more complex.

To try quickly and simply to give details on that, your employer in a redundancy situation must bring forward what is known as "a criteria" which is applicable to all staff. That criteria must contain (by example) the amount of absenteeism an employee has taken, disciplinary record, training sessions missed along with virtually anything that is applicable to employment within the company.

The results of the above must be compiled in numeric form and obviously, those with the highest totals are those who will be made redundant. Such matters as employees who are shielding may be added to the above criteria if the employer decides so, but that may leave them open to challenge via other employment legislation.

Any employee can request to view the redundancy criteria and the score they and others were given when applied.

The above is a very brief overview of the redundancy legislation, and I would very strongly advise you seastar or anyone else who becomes involved in redundancy measures to inform their trade union if they are a member of one.

Hope this helps.

OceanMama Wed 17-Jun-20 08:31:30

Good to see someone knows some of the legal situation.

My thoughts are that the manager may not know anything about future plans for furloughed staff or redundancies. Depending on the structure of the company, this might be decided higher up than him, and it could be that the company is just working out what actions they are going to take (redundancies or not) now. Things might still be very much up in the air. It's an uncertain time for a lot of businesses.

gillybob Wed 17-Jun-20 08:47:29

Seastar I speak as a employer in a very small business . I originally had 3 people on furlough as we had no work whatsoever. Then 2 weeks ago I brought one person back on full pay but only on an “as and when basis” in other words if there is work he comes in, or if I need his technical assistance he comes in other wise he stays at home .

I would imagine (like us) your employer will be furloughing those for whom there is little/no work and not furloughing those who are needed to keep the business going right now.

I have never in 26 years of being in business made anyone redundant but if some work doesn’t start to come in soon, I fear we have no choice . I think the furlough scheme was excellent in keeping people employed but it will be coming to an end soon and there will be difficult decisions to be made .

I have always been very transparent with my employees but it’s hard to compare a small business like ours with a large organisation where people are often just numbers/names on a spreadsheet . I also worry that when large organisations realise that they can manage almost just as well with a much reduced workforce, sadly redundancies will be inevitable as employing someone these days is very expensive taking into account wages, employers NI, pensions, Insurance’s etc.

Not only can you apply for another job while furloughed but you can do another job as long as it’s not for your own employer .

Sorry I haven’t exactly answered your question but by being on furlough at least you still have 80% of your income . As I said up thread the rules will be changing soon so your employer has a duty to keep you informed .

Wishing you good luck x

Grandad1943 Wed 17-Jun-20 09:13:00

OceanMama, in regard to your post @08:31 today, I agree with you that redundancy will be a major problem in very many workplaces in Britain in the coming months.

Unfortunately many employers when there is a shortage of work or finances do not start from declaring a redundancy situation in the workplace as that brings forward costs and challenges.

In the above, an employer can dismiss any employee with less than three months of employment in the company without giving any reason for that dismissal.

For employees with service of between three months and two years in an organisation, the process for the employer is not much more than the above. The organisation may face a grievance action from an employee, but anyone with less than two full years of employment within an organisation cannot take any employment grievance issue to an Industrial tribunal. In that, any employer is aware that their decision cannot be challenged outside the organisation and therefore will stand.

In the above is the action that a great many employers take prior to declaring a redundancy situation in their workplaces. It may sound very harsh for but it has to be remembered the survival of a company and in that the employment of very many can be at stake if redundancy costs and challenges to those redundancies use up resources in times.of financial stress.

Grandad1943 Wed 17-Jun-20 09:21:28

gillybob, I believe that the above process I have laid out does not always aplyy to very small businesses with only a few employees.

However, you would have to check that out as I have never been involved in a situation such as that.

Hope it all works out well for you and seastar.

OceanMama Wed 17-Jun-20 09:22:45

Grandad1943. I am coming from the pov of someone whose company is grappling with this right now. Managers can't answer questions about what is happening because they just don't know. They don't even know how they are going to be affected themselves past 'something is going to have to happen due to losses'. So asking a manager, once or 100 times, won't give an answer that says more than that. Decisions are still being made, options considered.

geekesse Wed 17-Jun-20 09:23:38

Are you in a Union? If so, talk to your union rep about it. In these difficult times, unions have dealt with thousands of cases like this. If not, you would be wise to consider joining a union now.

Grandad1943 Wed 17-Jun-20 09:42:21

OceanMama I feel that what you state is very much the situation in this unprecedented crisis. It may well be that we are all in for some very hard and uncertain time indeed, including even all those who are retired and receiving pensions etc.

grannygranby Wed 17-Jun-20 09:52:54

Ocean mama I see your point but if you think you might be the only one furloughed that would be s worry! And a competent manager should be able to say ‘ you are at present’ or ‘no you are not alone in this’ Without going in to detail and simply explaining that further detail not known and will let them know when situation becomes clearer. It’s just respect for employee.

JanCl Wed 17-Jun-20 09:58:17

I think you could ask how many people have been furloughed and the criteria for doing so, but asking for your manager to give you names, while understandable, might be seen as not the done thing. But you absolutely have the right to understand on what basis the decision was made. Ideally, your employer should have made this clear at the start. As for redundancy, this too needs to be done fairly and transparently, with staff consultation if more than 20 people are involved. Follow the Citizens Advice link for more information.

Growing0ldDisgracefully Wed 17-Jun-20 10:20:49

Grandad you have me worried now re the reference to those who are retired. I took early retirement so in receipt of private pension only at present. Is there some possibility that pensions will be affected then? No doubt prices will be rising to compensate for lost income to businesses of late and other expenses to businesses because of social distancing measures, but surely they can't mess with pensions can they?

OceanMama Wed 17-Jun-20 10:22:20

grannygranby, agree they can tell you about your personal situation, even if it is 'that's still being decided, we don't know'. I don't think they can give you any specific information about other employees though, such as names. That might be breaching privacy legislation. I very much doubt you are the only one on furlough. Are you in touch with any work colleagues? Are none of them on furlough?

Mildmanneredgran Wed 17-Jun-20 11:00:01

Hi there, and I'm sorry you are going through such an unsettling time. The reason your manager is not replying to any furloughed employees is because furloughed employees are not allowed to do any work whilst on furlough, and he may simply choosing not to call employees on furlough to be on the safe side. He also won't be able to talk about any other employees on furlough because it's confidential information.

Also, the process Grandad1943 describes is not a legal requirement, although companies must enter into consultation for proposed redundancies and present the criteria for selection. If you have a look at the ACAS website, it's really helpful and very clear.

Juicylucy Wed 17-Jun-20 11:08:40

One of my friends found out that selected colleagues of hers,doing same job as her, have been furloughed, no one knows why individuals were chosen and others weren’t.

Babs758 Wed 17-Jun-20 11:17:14

Some may be vulnerable or shielding or childcare issues so in a decision to furlough where everything is equal they would furlough the vulnerable.

For companies with over 20 people under threat of redundancy there has to be a proper consultation period. This is why companies are looking at redundancies now due to full furloughing coming to an end in August where companies will have to pay more. They said, the new rules will allow furloughed people to work part time for their companies. In our organisation people are being furloughed in a three week oration basis and picking up other people’s jobs whilst not furloughed.

Nannan2 Wed 17-Jun-20 11:34:44

Are any of the other workers your personal friends? If so, are you in touch with them?, calls,txts,emails etc? If so, ask them if they're still furloughed?or if they know if anyone else is,or if they are back at work etc? Just in your usual chat.I would have thought the manager can't name names due to data protection laws. If not i would only advise that to keep 'pestering' the manager (as he may see it) is certainly not going to help you, as he may see that as a cue to get rid of anyone 'annoying him' first. I'd keep my head down for a bit & try ask anyone like a friend or colleague with whom im on speaking terms, or a union rep if there is one.hmm

Humbertbear Wed 17-Jun-20 11:36:46

My daughter works for a charity and they have been totally upfront. Everyone knows who has been furloughed. They have also had the future explained to them. Eg my daughter will be going back part time in August. It helps that she is in touch with her colleagues and they have a zoom chat over lunchtime everyday.

Millie22 Wed 17-Jun-20 11:39:23

You're not alone there are many people concerned about what happens after the furlough scheme finishes. My OH has just gone back to work this week after being furloughed but we don't know how much work there will be and for how long. We thought he may be made redundant when employers were made to contribute. Sometimes the managers don't know themselves what's going to happen. It's a stressful time all round really.

seastar Wed 17-Jun-20 11:57:16

Does furlough come to an end at the end of August?
If so, when would I be told if I was going to be made redundant?
I'm a part time advice expert. We have, in our department, 6 people - 4 full time ( one acts more like a gopher doing heavy lifting etc) and 2 part timers - out of the 2 part timers I'm the one with the qualifications and experience. No-one else in the department has expert, recognisable qualifications of my calibre. One of the full timers is shielding and 3 are on furlough ( includes me). I've been working at the place for only one year which is the same as the other part timer. We need a dept manager but the company has decided not to employ one. The overall manager has a low budget and this has been the case since February 2020.
Worrying about it is an understatement.

Liz1965 Wed 17-Jun-20 12:16:36

This is document detailing the legal situation!

Riggie Wed 17-Jun-20 13:12:50

There us a process to follow regarding redundancy. Don't forget that it is not the person who is made redundant, it is the job.

Candelle Wed 17-Jun-20 13:28:44

I can't help with how you find out who is/is not being furloughed (other than asking your closest colleagues to see if they have any information) but there is much information to be found on Covid-19 in (but hopefully not!) the workplace, here:

Hope it helps.


grandtanteJE65 Wed 17-Jun-20 13:46:37

I imagine you are perfectly entitled to look for another job while you are furloughed, but phone your union or a job centre and check.

I doubt, though, that you will have much chance of getting a job right now, as most firms will have staff who are furloughed or have been made redundant and won't be taking on staff.

I doubt they will be able or willing to hold job interviews either.