No one can deny that Covid-19 has changed the face of employment and the world of work forever. So many people have become the unfortunate victims of unfair dismissal due to the fact that their business has been locked down, or they have been unable to leave the house. That’s why it’s extremely important that you understand your rights. Whether you are still employed, have been furloughed, or have lost your job, it’s time for you to understand how you can take your fate into your own hands and figure out how to protect yourself and your family from any financial threats.
Overview: Covid-19 & Employment
As lock down hit the UK, it brought with it a feeling of uncertainty. Not everyone had been able to predict that they would lose their jobs, but as a result it had a knock-on effect that left them without an opportunity to go out and look for more work without putting their families at risk. The situation is in flux. What occurred last week may become obsolete by the time the next week occurs. That is how fast the situation is changing.
Now, smaller businesses and have been offered a life line called the bounce back loan. Within the first minute, Barclays received around 200 applications and Lloyds gained 5,000 applications within 3 hours. These loans go up to around £50,000, so hopefully this will protect employees that are currently on furlough and those that are working from home. Make sure to check out the government’s website for more information.
With the lock down still going strong, the basic gist of the situation is that the world of work is going to be changed forever. As an employee, you will need to get used to a new work environment, as well as figure out how you will undertake tasks whilst respecting the new social distancing regulations.
What has happened to your job?
No matter what type of career you have chosen for yourself, you will have to accept that you will have to make some changes to your daily life. Unfortunately, according to Citizens Advice, there are no policies in place yet to protect you from being dismissed by your employer. If they have been shut down then that is it. You cannot keep your job. Here are some examples of what you could be experiencing:
If you are an essential worker then you may find that you are made a priority when it comes to the work force. Your job may become busier or new health policies may be put in place. This includes social distancing, hand washing and face mask policies. Remote workers will still be paid their wage but will be have a VPN or method of communication to ensure that work will continue to be done. This will be suitable for office workers and, potentially, teaching staff.
However, things may be a bit more difficult if you are experiencing furlough or have lost your job completely.
Naturally, if you are a self-employed worker, you may also be starting to struggle with payments, customers or even wages owed to freelancers that you currently employ. But don’t worry! During this troubling time you are not alone. Instead, you could be eligible for a range of loans and grants from different financial service providers and the government. Some of these grants can go up to 80% of your profits up to £2,500 if you sign up to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Check your options out now on the UK government’s website!
Furlough: Emergency Aid
If you have been furloughed then that means you are still being employed by a company, however it is not safe to go to work. You may be feeling a little frightened by this situation. On the 20th April 2020, it was confirmed that over 1 million people had been furloughed by their company and even now it’s predicted that around 9 million people will be furloughed in the future. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know what you, as an employee, are legally entitled to.
As you can see, if you have been furloughed you will still receive most of your pay to support yourself and your household. You also have the opportunity to go out and find an additional job if you are not making enough money. Remember, if you do find additional work, to inform your current employer. That way, when they rehire you then you can know when to keep your notice in.
If you are currently working for more than one employer, each of the employers can furlough you up to £2,500. That does mean you have the potential to earn higher than this allowance. However, keep in mind this depends on how much of a wage you were earning in the first place with all of your employers.
Are you not being paid through the Job Retention Scheme?
Before we start this section, make sure your employer knows about this video and knows about the Job Retention Scheme:
The Job Retention Scheme is designed to support businesses and keep their employees working, even if they have been furloughed or cannot travel to their place of work. That way they will be able to keep up their standard of living and support their families.
Not everyone can feel confident that their employer will actually pay them throughout the pandemic. Your employer may not have realized they could have used the scheme, or perhaps just told you not to work. Whether or not you can continue to be paid depends on what your employer has told you. Read this carefully:
- “You are being made redundant”: This means that there is no work for you and you are no longer employed.
- “Just go home”: There is no work or pay for you.
- “You are being laid off”: This can mean that you are a still employed but you are not going to be paid, namely because there is no work to be done.
Make sure to check with your employer exactly what they mean by their phrasing. In some cases, they may have simply said the same thing. That means you can still have the chance to be paid through furlough and even have a second job. You can then remind your employer that they can backdate your pay to the 1st March. If they refuse you, make sure to ask them for a reason why and to give you it in writing .From there you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for help.
Employment Status Wording
It is the worst thing in the world to know that you have been laid off from your job. One minute you felt secure and that you had control over your life. Now, you may not know how you are going to afford groceries or support your family. It is a truly scary time. Some people are handling it better than others, but every person has their own personal story and situation.
If you have been made redundant or have lost your job, there are three things you need to check for before you do anything:
- Has your employer had a group consultation if they have made more than 20 people redundant?
- Have you been chosen for a fair reason?
- Has your employer discriminated against you?
If you feel like you have been let go for an unfair reason, and have worked at the company for at least 2 years, there is a chance that you could file for unfair dismissal compensation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Tribunal claims for unfair dismissal can be filed before 3 months have passed since you had been out of work.
Looking for a New Job
One of the main things that we need to stress about being made unemployed is that you need to find a new job fast! Yes, you can apply for benefits. But the Corona Virus has affected a lot of different people and has put them in the same situation as you. That means the waiting times for benefits are longer. The best thing you can do is try to find remote work that can pay you enough to get through the next few months. Start looking on Indeed, TotalJobs, LinkedIn and many other job websites to get started.
Remember to also look after your mental health. Losing your job can make you feel like the world has crashed around you. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Think of this experience like the tide. It has just gone out and taken everything with it, but soon it will come in and refill the dry sand with water. Use the time to think of your mental health and to make yourself feel better with apps like Headspace and Calm. You may also want to start looking into free online courses that can be used to fill out your CV. Turn this loss into an opportunity.
Gowing Law Solicitors can help you with your unfair dismissal tribunal!
Gowing Law has a number of unfair dismissal solicitors in Manchester that are ready to help you with your claim. Our staff members are currently working remotely, but we can still contact you in order to work through your case.
Make sure to provide our experienced unfair dismissal lawyers with as much information as you can about your case. You may also want to send your previous employer a letter of complaint. That way you can let them know that you intend to pursue legal action.
Contact Gowing Law Solicitors now to set up an initial consultation. We can do it over the phone or set up a call to help you. We offer free advice to our clients and work on a “no win-no fee basis.” That way you will always come out on top. Message firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 041 8350 now to talk to our specialists about what you could earn now in compensation.
Check out our older blogs for more information
We want to make sure that you are kept updated about the most useful law information during this difficult time. This includes information on the basics of PPI tax claims and mis-sold mortgages. If you can think of a topic, we will make sure to write about it. That way, you will never be in the dark about what sort of compensation you could be owed. Make sure to take a look at our blogging page to read more.
Keep safe and secure. Stay at home and save lives.