Ellis Jones Solicitors issues Christmas furlough advice

 Ellis Jones Solicitors Partner and Head of Employment/HR Services Kate Brooks
Ellis Jones Solicitors Partner and Head of Employment/HR Services Kate Brooks

A top employment lawyer has warned that ‘furlough is not just for Christmas’ as Dorset and East Hants businesses and employees consider holiday arrangements.

Kate Brooks, who is a Partner and Head of Employment/HR Services at Ellis Jones Solicitors, urged businesses to familiarise themselves with the regulations as the festive period arrives.

This includes rules against firms placing employees on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) simply to cover annual leave while they shut down for Christmas.

Ellis Jones, with more than 140 staff and 17 partners, has five offices across the south coast in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Swanage, Ringwood and Wimborne as well as London.

Kate, who has been recognised for her expertise in The Legal 500 and The Times Top 200 Law Firms guides, said: “Planning for Christmas promises to be more complicated than usual for many firms this year.

“Lots of employers shut down for Christmas and employees take holiday. Understandably, some employers are likely to question whether staff can be placed on furlough for this closedown.

“This is perfectly fine as long as they are already on a period of furlough but not if the employer wants to place them on furlough simply to cover their annual leave over Christmas.

“Furlough is not just for the Christmas holidays, as the rules make it clear that employees should not be placed on furlough just because they are going to be on holiday.”

Kate added: “Other HR considerations include holiday pay, holiday entitlement and whether employees can be forced to take annual leave over Christmas or while on furlough.

“We advise employers to made decisions about how to deal with holiday in light of Covid-19 and furlough to ensure their businesses run as smoothly as possible and they remain within employment law over the coming weeks.”

Kate is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.
Ellis Jones has more than 140 staff and 17 partners.

For more details visit www.ellisjones.co.uk.

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