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University of Bath

Furloughing - Frequently Asked Questions for Staff

This guide gives answers to a number of frequently asked questions. It will be expanded as further questions arise.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or ‘Furlough’ Scheme

What does ‘furlough’ mean?

The UK Government has launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which includes ‘furlough’, a temporary arrangement in which staff are paid during a period of not working. Someone who is identified for furlough will remain employed but they are not allowed to undertake any paid work, for the University or any other employer. The Scheme is designed for staff whose posts are not required or cannot be undertaken on a temporary basis as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

What will I be paid if I am on furlough?

The University has decided that it will continue to pay all employees on furlough their full salary. This is significantly above the level paid by the UK Government which is 80%, up to a capped limit of £2,500 per month.

What is the purpose of the Scheme?

  • The aim of the Scheme is to prevent staff whose posts are not currently required (e.g. due the service that they work in being suspended), or cannot be undertaken on a temporary basis due to the Coronavirus outbreak, from being made redundant or temporarily laid off.

  • It is designed to allow staff to return to their jobs when they are required back after the furlough period and Coronavirus outbreak.

How long is the furlough period for?

  • The furlough period is currently set by the UK Government for three months, from 1 March until 31 May 2020. You may placed 'on furlough' for anything from a period of 3 weeks to 3-months. Staff may be furloughed from a minimum period of 3-weeks up to the whole period.

  • Please note, this can be extended by the UK Government at any time.

How will the University identify people to be placed on furlough?

The Heads of Departments are currently working to identify the posts and staff for furlough, with advice and support from their HR Business Partner. Posts will be identified for being placed on furlough where:

  • they are not currently required (e.g. where a service is suspended) or cannot be undertaken on a temporary basis as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak and;

  • they meet the requirements of the Government’s Furlough / CJRS Scheme.

These recommendations will then be reviewed by the Assurance Committee to ensure a proper and fair process has been completed and that those selected meet the requirements of the CJRS scheme.

When and how will I find out if I am selected for furlough?

  • We will begin notifying staff over the next two to three weeks from the week commencing 6 April onwards.

  • Those identified to furlough will receive an email from a member of the HR Operations team which will explain the changes in moving onto the Scheme; they will be asked to respond to this.

Have our trade unions been consulted about this scheme?

Yes, representatives of our three recognised trade unions (UCU, UNISON and UNITE) have been consulted on this scheme.

I understand that this is a UK Government scheme; if I am on furlough do I have to do anything to get paid?

No, under the Scheme you do not need to do anything. The University will continue to pay you your salary as normal.

What can I do while I am on furlough?

Please see the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance for staff link to section on guidance web page

Could I be called back from my furlough period before 31 May 2020?

Yes. You may be asked to return to work at any time during the furlough period, either in your current post if the situation changes, or if there are opportunities for redeployment during this period.

If I’m not identified for furlough, what is expected of me?

  • Some posts are still required to continue to ensure the University can run its services during this unprecedented period. This means some staff will not be selected for furlough and will continue to work as per their contract.

  • The priority is to continue the safe and successful operation of the University, while following the Government’s advice on social distancing during this challenging time.

Can I refuse to go on furlough?

  • If you have any concerns about being placed on furlough, please raise these straight away with your line manager or with HR. There is a process that you can follow if you feel that you or the University would suffer a detriment if you moved onto the scheme.

  • As a University we have worked extremely hard to make sure that all decisions regarding who is selected for furlough are made as fairly as possible with review from the Assurance Committee - and as consulted on with our trade union colleagues.

Can I volunteer to go on furlough?

Yes, staff can request to be selected for furlough, however this will need to be considered and agreed by the line manager and ultimately the University. The decision will be based on whether work can continue appropriately and the post meets the requirements of the furlough scheme.

How can it be fair for some people on the team to be put on furlough, but not others?

  • Due to the impact of coronavirus, some posts are not required or not able to continue during this period (or may see a large reduction in service required) while others are required and can be carried out throughout the outbreak.

  • Whilst we need to make some initial judgement calls, where possible we will seek to redeploy or even rotate staff in and out of furlough.

  • To ensure the process is as fair as possible, there will be an Assurance Committee to review all decisions made.

  • Whilst we need to make some initial judgement calls, where possible we will seek to redeploy or even rotate staff in and out of furlough.

I am an hourly-paid (/ casual / zero-hours) worker, could the Scheme apply to me?

Please see the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance for staff link to section on guidance web page and section titled 'How does furlough affect me if I am on an hourly-paid worker contract?'

How does furlough affect me if I am a Research and research-funded staff?

Research & Innovation Services (RIS) have created some guidance for managing possible furlough situations for research-funded staff. Please refer to this guidance and the section titled Furlough scheme.

Return to work - what is the process when furlough ends?

Please see the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance for staff and section titled 'What happens at the end of furlough?'

Who can I contact to understand more about furlough and how it affects me?

  • Please always contact your line manager first with any questions.

  • We also have a dedicated email CV19enquiries@bath.ac.uk for any questions that you may have.

Background on the UK Government CJRS scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was announced by the UK Government on 20 March with the aim of retaining jobs and staff. More information on the CJRS is available on the Government website.