Made redundant on furlough

My sister in law has been made redundant whilst on furlough. She is expected to leave work on the 1st April. Here’s the part that confuses me - her employer have said she is not allowed to look for, nor apply for another job during this period otherwise she may have to “pay the furlough money back”.
this sounds totally ridiculous to me and I can’t find any specific help online that relates to this circumstance.
Are they honestly allowed to stop her applying for jobs just because she is on furlough? I was under the impression that redundancy rights hadn’t changed.


  • ‘Furlough money’ is wages. She’s entitled to wages as per her contract. She’s  been served notice that her employment is ending because the job is redundant, applying for jobs is normal in this situation.  And in any case, anyone can apply for a job whenever they want.  
    It’s no longer possible for employers to claim furlough payments from HMRC for notice periods, employers are liable for the pay, perhaps this is the issue. 

  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546
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    Of course it's possible to look and apply. Simply cannot start the new employment. Though negotiating an earlier leave date and foregoing the furlough payments is an option. 
  • As the others have said, she can apply for other jobs but she cannot start new employment until her notice period us up and she officially leaves her current employment. Otherwise she will forego any redundancy payment if the company finds out (as the current employer are paying the notice period they can ask her to work for them right up until the end). 

    I was in the same situation earlier last year - was made redundant and had a notice period to work, found a new job in that time and just organised my new job to start the day after my notice period ended... worked like a charm and still got my redundancy. 
  • vacheron
    vacheron Posts: 1,590
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    edited 1 March 2021 at 10:55AM
    Yes, Her company must to allow her to work her notice period and the company are obliged to pay her (where they get the money from to do this is of no concern).
    However, if she decides to leave, then she can also serve notice on the company and leave earlier (just like any other employee can). The issue with this is that she leaves "of her own accord" then the company are no longer obliged to pay her the redundancy money. 

    In some companies (mine included), employees who are being made redundant are told that if they find a job and need to leave before the company notice period, that they may still take the redundancy money (but obviously will not be paid a salary for any notice weeks they do not complete). However in your sisters case it seems like the company want to have their cake and eat it, which is most often the case, it just sounds like their choice of wording was ill considered!
    • The rich buy assets.
    • The poor only have expenses.
    • The middle class buy liabilities they think are assets.
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  • getmore4less
    getmore4less Posts: 46,882
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    AIUI the reply needs to be
    "it is not furlough pay, you have to pay me 100% of normal wages  during the notice"

  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,198
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    Also, when someone is made redundant the rules specifically state that they should be allowed reasonable time off for job interviews / hunting - although I don't think you are entitled to be paid for more than 2 days worth of time off  in total for this purpose.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
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