Coronavirus Q&A: Latest Advice for Employers


In line with the latest government advice, specialist employment solicitor at Farnworth Rose Steve Gee answers the questions currently facing employers.

  • Can you force an employee to take furlough leave?

Yes, provided the employee has a lay off clause within their contract of employment. Nevertheless, the employer should in all cases obtain the employee’s written consent to the change to their terms and conditions of employment. 

  • Does the employee continue to accrue holiday during furlough leave?


  • Can employers require employees to take holiday during furlough, so the government ends up paying 80% of holiday and the employee uses it up?

Yes – provided the employer gives sufficient notice to the employee. The notice required being a minimum of twice as many days as the number of days’ holiday that the employer wishes the employee to take. For example, the employer would have to give at least 2 weeks’ notice in advance of the start date of a period of 1 week’s holiday leave.

  • Can an employee cancel a period of annual leave if they are unable to go on holiday due to the coronavirus outbreak?

Many employees affected by travel restrictions and flight cancellations as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will have to cancel holidays. They may wish to cancel the annual leave they have booked, so they can take it later in the year. However, employers do not have to agree to this.

  • Can employees on long-term sick announce they want to return to work, to take advantage of the furlough scheme?


  • Can employees currently on maternity, paternity, shared parental leave etc. cut their absence short in order to be automatically be furloughed in order to increase their payments, funded by the Government?

There is nothing in the guidance to the contrary, so yes.

Receive specialist advice from an expert employment solicitor

Our specialist employment law solicitor, Steve Gee, is available to support employers by answering any questions they may have on the latest guidance for employers during the Coronavirus outbreak.

For any questions, please contact Steve via email on