Furlough and Maternity / Paternity Leave


2 September 2020

By Alexandra Dean

The deadline for placing employees on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ("Furlough Scheme") has long passed.

As of 10 June 2020 and we are all familiar with the Furlough Scheme and indeed the changes that are regularly taking place (as of 1 September 2020, for example, the contribution has reduced to 70% from the Government, with the employers expected to top up to at least 80% and to pay pension and National Insurance Contributions).

This means that employers can no longer place new employees on furlough in order to save costs and avoid redundancies and we are starting to see the effect that this is taking on many businesses.

One concern has been for employees that will be returning from Statutory Maternity or Paternity Leave and how the Furlough Scheme deadline will impact them.

Of course, there is legislation in place to protect new parents from losing their jobs due to their leave and indeed companies have responsibilities in keeping the role available for those employees but the limitations on the Furlough Scheme will, inevitably, add a financial concern for companies and might add to some stress for new parents.

Maternity Action, who are a charity committed to ending inequality and ensuring the protection of rights of pregnant women and their partners, have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak in June urging him to make an exception to the cut-off date for the Furlough Scheme for the benefit of those returning from parental leave after 10 June 2020.

In a last minute change, the Chancellor has confirmed that businesses can continue to take advantage of the Furlough Scheme and place those returning from parental leave on furlough even after 10 June 2020 on the conditions that:

  • The company has already made use of the Furlough Scheme for other employees before 10 June 2020; and
  • The returning employees are due to come back to work before 1 October 2020.

We have no doubt that this is a very welcome clarity for new parents who will have some additional financial support where possible in the form of the Furlough Scheme to ensure that they are somewhat more protected and companies will have the government's support in ensuring that those roles remain open and available to the relevant employees. As always, our expert team continues to be available to support businesses and individuals who have any questions in this regard or in any aspect of employment law. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

If you are in doubt about your legal rights, it is always better to ask the questions ahead of time to help you make more informed decisions about what is right and wrong for you. This way, you will also know how best to proceed with the situation that you are facing. Please do not hesitate to contact our team for assistance.

Please do get in touch with us for a no-obligation initial conversation.

Contact us on 01245 228141 or via e-mail.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.