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Coronavirus: UK furlough scheme extended by 1 month to end of June / furlough holiday rights clarified

The UK government announced this afternoon that it is extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘CJRS’) by a month to the end of June. The announcement is welcome news for many employers who for business planning purposes were considering whether they could continue to employ staff currently on furlough if the CJRS finished on the original 31 May date.

In addition, the government has finally provided guidance on holiday rights during furlough. The guidance gives welcome confirmation that employees continue to accrue holiday during furlough. Employees may also take holiday whilst on furlough, with any statutory holiday being paid at their usual holiday pay rate in accordance with the Working Time Regulations. Employers will be obliged to pay the additional amounts over the grant.

BCLP has assembled a COVID-19 Employment & Labor taskforce to assist clients with employment law issues across various jurisdictions. You can contact the taskforce at: COVID-19HRLabour&EmploymentIssues@bclplaw.com. You can also view other thought leadership, guidance, and helpful information on our dedicated COVID-19 / Coronavirus resources page.

UK HR Two Minute Monthly: religious discrimination; third-party harassment; investigations

Summary

Our November update considers recent developments in employment law, including cases on religion and belief discrimination, third party harassment and investigations. We also outline other points of note, including the new EU Whistleblowing Directive and the EHRC’s Guidance on NDAs.

Dismissal not unfair where in-house counsel recommended changes to investigation report

The EAT has held that a dismissal was not unfair where a draft investigation report prepared by HR and an investigator was altered on the recommendation of in-house counsel.

In this case, the in-house solicitor had advised the investigator to remove his evaluative opinions and conclusions of whether the employee’s conduct amounted to misconduct, and to limit the findings to whether there was a prima facie case to answer. This was on the basis that the conclusions should be left to the disciplinary panel that was subsequently appointed.

The EAT upheld the Tribunal’s decision that the overall dismissal was still fair as there was no evidential material that had been withheld from the investigation report for review by the disciplinary panel.  As part of this decision, the EAT took into account that the appeal hearer (who was a barrister) reviewed the draft investigation reports and did not find that the report was changed in order to make the employee’s dismissal more likely, and no pressure had been applied to the investigators.

Why this matters?

This case is a useful reminder about the scope of the investigator’s role in a disciplinary procedure.  At the outset of an investigation, the

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