Fundamentally, employee rights whilst on furlough don’t change, which means that they can be made redundant or served a notice of termination of employment whilst on furlough. Employment rights remain the same, so holiday accrues, and full notice periods must be served to anyone placed on furlough. Whilst nothing prevents you doing this before the scheme ends, there are things that must be taken into account, as with a normal redundancy.
Depending on the size of the organisation, a consultation period may be required, especially if a significant number of furloughed staff will be affected. And there are other difficulties to consider. Can a video call be undertaken with the staff member or members in question, for example? Notice pay must also be provided, which will in turn depend on the hours a furloughed employee has worked. Some companies may find it necessary to take specific legal information to calculate exactly how much notice pay they owe. It is vitally important, in the event of a redundancy pool, that companies avoid using an employee’s furloughed status as a justification for inclusion in the pool. This opens the door to an unfair dismissal case, especially in situations, where say, childcare has been a factor on the decision to furlough. It is vital that employers do not attempt to rush the process, or they run the risk of legal action being taken against them, which in the current climate, is the last thing they need.