Skip to content

What happens if a patient is admitted to hospital during the pandemic?

Related FAQs

Can I use flexible furlough to utilise an employee's holiday entitlement?

Employees are generally permitted to take holidays during furlough. However, Government guidance has been updated to state that “Employees should not be placed on furlough for a period simply because they are on holiday for that period.” If a period of furlough happens to coincide with an employee’s holiday then you should ensure that there are business grounds to support furlough being used in that instance so that it isn’t just being used as a means to fund holiday utilisation.

What is the guidance for doctors working during the pandemic?

The General Medical Council (GMC) have published guidance online for doctors during this time of uncertainty.

 

Alongside this, their website displays guidance for temporary registration to approximately 15,000 doctors, who left the register or gave up their licence to practise in the last three years.

 

These clinicians have been contacted to assist with the growing pandemic, outlining the process they would follow and informing them of their right to opt-out. The Secretary of State for Health can ask the GMC to grant such registration under Section 18a of the Medical Act 1983, in an emergency.

Do I have to continue to pay furloughed staff while furloughed? Can I wait until I receive the money from the government?

To qualify for a grant under the scheme you must pay your furloughed staff the wages you are claiming for. Failure to do so may result in a HMRC investigation and/or claims from furloughed staff for unlawful deductions from wages and possibly constructive dismissal claims.

Normal benefits including non-monetary benefits should continue during furlough unless the individual has agreed in writing to reduce or remove a benefit during this time.

Employers are expected to apply for one or more of the financial support schemes available to be able to continue to pay staff.

Employer furlough schemes

Furlough means temporary leave of absence. There is nothing to stop an employer seeking to agree a temporary leave of absence – with or without pay – with its workforce.

This could not be forced on an employee without significant risk. Without agreement, this would need fair selection and consultation – more on that later.

Can charities furlough their employees?

Hopefully, further guidance will provide additional clarification on this, but it is difficult to see how a charity whose operations have been significantly curtailed because of the Covid-19 restrictions, cannot furlough employees and access the scheme, in particular where they have several different income streams. For example if a charity’s retail or fundraising operations have been significantly curtailed due to the restrictions, then it would appear unfair for it not to able to rely on the furlough scheme to assist in the funding of the employment costs associated with this part of the charity.

However, it might be prudent, where there are services that are publicly funded and employees working within those services cannot undertake their normal work, to consider if they can do different roles to work on Covid-19 activities. If there is no such work available then the guidance does appear to allow the furloughing of employees and such organisations to access the scheme.

In our experience, the funding streams and work undertaken by the organisations that could fall into the third category identified above can be exceptionally diverse and we would strongly recommend that you take advice before making such decisions about furloughing employees.