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Can employees take annual leave during a period of furlough?

Yes, however holiday pay during furlough must remain at the normal rate of pay and not the reduced furloughed rate. You can still claim for this period under the scheme but you will be responsible for any amounts beyond the maximum you can claim. Employers have flexibility to restrict when leave can be taken both during and after period of furlough in the normal way.

If an employee usually works bank holidays then the employer can agree that this is included in the grant payment. If the employee usually takes the bank holiday as leave then you would either have to top up their usual holiday pay, or give the employee a day of holiday in lieu.

Related FAQs

Can landlords re-possess properties if tenants can’t afford to pay the rent because of the coronavirus outbreak?

After 25 March 2020, and until 30 September 2020, a landlord can only start possession proceedings against a tenant if they have served 3 months’ notice upon the tenant – irrespective of any grounds relied upon.

On 27 March 2020, the Court introduced new rules to put all possession proceedings (except against trespassers) on hold until 25 June 2020 – it means that the Court cannot make an order for possession or any other order that would cause someone to be evicted during that time.

These rules do not just apply to tenants who have fallen into rent arrears.

On 5 June 2020, the Government announced that this stay would be extended further until 23 August 2020.

This means that you can issue new possession proceedings (provided you have complied with the new temporary rules in relation to notice periods, if the notice was served since 25 March 2020) and you can continue with existing possession proceedings.

However, any progress you may be able to make in dealing with those proceedings is likely to be very limited – the Court will allow you to comply with directions orders that have already been made but non-compliance will not be punished (at least for the time being).

These rules, and the latest announcements, are in keeping with the Government’s expectation that landlords show compassion towards affected tenants and that all parties will work together to establish a suitable repayment plan to allow tenants to repay the arrears at an affordable rate.

If an employee works with vulnerable people who are at high risk of catching coronavirus, can the employer require them to limit their activities outside of work?

It is unlikely that an employer can place such a requirement on staff without infringing the employee’s privacy. If the employee is acting in accordance with the rules, limiting their activity would likely be considered unreasonable.

What should I do if I think this is relevant to my contracts?

It would be prudent to take legal advice early in relation to any issue you foresee in performing a contract. This will allow you to:

  • Ensure that initial contact with your counterparty is framed in the correct way
  • Ensure that any variations are fully documented so that both parties are fully protected
Does this apply to bankruptcy petitions?

No. This bill relates to corporate insolvencies only. Should you require any advice as to personal insolvency situations, please contact our team.

I have to pay my ex-spouse monthly spousal maintenance pursuant to a Court Order and I can no longer afford to pay. Can I stop paying?

Maintenance Orders embodied in a Court Order are variable. If you have lost a very large part of your income, then the Courts ought to take that into consideration when looking at a Court Application to reduce or end spousal maintenance payments. The outcome of any Court Application will, however, depend on a number of factors.

Technically, you should not just stop paying or reduce the maintenance payments, as your ex-spouse could then make an Application to Court for enforcement and payment of the arrears. You could ask the Court to forego you having to pay those arrears if you had evidence to prove that you could not make the payments, however, the Court will need to take a fair approach and you should not assume this request will be agreed.

You should first try to negotiate a reduction or termination of the maintenance with your ex-spouse, either directly or through a Solicitor. If this is possible, you should obtain a Court Order reflecting that agreement. Where a sensible compromise cannot be reached, a Court Application may be necessary.