Conditions of Employment: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 4th June 2020.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps he is taking to ensure that employees will not be forced to accept (a) zero-hour contracts and (b) other reduced employment conditions, without being given the option of redundancy, when the furlough ends.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

An employment contract is a matter between an individual and their employer.

Any changes to an employment contract – including an individual’s working hours – should be made by agreement in a way that is consistent with employment law. This Government is clear that employers must take their employment responsibilities seriously and cannot simply opt out of them.

An employer can decide to make a worker redundant when their furlough ends under certain conditions, if they deem this to be the best course of action to take for their business.

The legal position in relation to redundancy remains the same. Any redundancy process should be fair and reasonable, with appropriate equalities considerations.

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