returning to work from furlough
doing things differently
returning to work during furlough
When you return to work from furlough and if you are a protected employee because of disability or maternity and pregnancy you will find the return much less stressful if you have an awareness of your employment rights.
There is a wealth of useful information online about this. For example –
Equality Human Rights – see page 79 onwards for reasonable adjustments for disability and page 99 onwards for rights around pregnancy and maternity
If you are undertaking a return to work from furlough and are Equality Act disabled, you have a right to ask for reasonable adjustments. The aim of these adjustments is to remove any workplace barriers that unreasonably impact your ability to work. Your employer needs to take into account what adjustments you require to enable you to do your job, as long as what you are asking for is reasonable. This may be particularly pertinent if you are clinically highly vulnerable and for example you can work from home, but your employer insists that you must return to the workplace. Returning to work during furlough may be difficult if others have not been furloughed and changes have been made at work, but your employer cannot unilaterally make detrimental changes to your terms and conditions without your consent whatever the economic or other justification.
You can find out more about reasonable adjustments for disability online including here:
Equality Human Rights Chapter 6 – Duty to make reasonable adjustments
If you are returning to work from furlough and want to understand what your rights are and whether they are different from what they were before furlough the answer is simple: you enjoy the same legal protections as you did before lockdown and before furlough.
If your employer tells you that you have lost any protections, you should take legal advice. ACAS and the CAB offer a free helpline to deal with these issues. If you have a serious issue and have consulted them first, you should arrange to speak to us to see how we can help.
If you are a mother and still in your protected period or returning to work during furlough, make sure that your employer understands that you have rights above non-protected employees and that special circumstances may apply. Your return to work during furlough might not be straightforward so get up to speed on your rights and if you think you have an issue you cannot resolve take legal advice.
For more on your maternity rights (which are not impacted by furlough) try one of these useful links:
Equality Human Rights Chapter 8 Pregnancy and maternity
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