Bringing Redundant Staff Back to Furlough

By April Harrington.
28 Jan 2021

The furlough scheme set to continue until the end of September 2021. So can you bring redundant staff back to your company? What are the rules on furlough after you bring them back? After all, furlough could give your former employees more financial security. What if you are not in a situation to maintain their previous role?

There are a number of things you need to keep in mind when considering this. However, the answer to the question “Can I bring redundant staff back to furlough?” is simple—yes, you can.

Redundant to furlough

Which employees can I bring back?

There are only a few redundant employees you can re-hire and furlough. Here is the criteria:

  • They must have been employed by you on or before 23rd September
  • You must have made a PAYE RTI submission to HMRC between 20th March & 30th October 2020
  • They must have been made redundant on or after 23rd September 2020

What are some of the HR issues?

There are a couple of HR considerations that are tricky to unravel.

The safest way to bring someone back and put them on furlough appears to make it clear that employment is not continuous. There is an extremely high chance that the employee will be made redundant again at the end of the furlough period. Therefore, you’ll need to go through the redundancy process again. This may require collective consultation dependent on the number of employees to be made redundant at the time. A new redundancy procedure could include some of the existing workforce—not just those brought back after having been made redundant the first time.

The further dismissal through redundancy may also pose some issues. This is because an employment tribunal may not deem the two periods of employment continuous. Why? Because this situation has never been tested.

The rules on continuity mean that, after a redundancy, employment will be continuous if the employee starts a job for you within four weeks of the termination of employment. However, this applies where the offer of re-employment is made before the end of the individual's employment under their old employment contract. This is unlikely to be the case in a furlough situation.

Additionally, you will have to pay the NI/pension contributions for anyone you re-hire after redundancy.

Expert support

Due to the potentially difficult situations that could arise as a result of taking this action, it is highly advisable to seek further guidance before doing so. Speak to one of our expert HR advisers today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

April Harrington.

An experienced Senior Employment Law Consultant, who has worked for the group for over 9 years. April specialises in discrimination legislation. April has an extensive background in training, as well as recruitment and hospitality.