EIS-FELA Guidance on Furlough

Several Scottish colleges are adopting the UK government furlough scheme for some of their employees.

The funding council expects that College managements will consult with the unions 'at the earliest opportunity'. The EIS has asked to meet the employers to reach a national agreement, but in the meantime this is our general view of the situation.

1) Where the furlough scheme is supposed to apply:

  • the employee works in an area of business where services are temporarily not required and whose salary is not covered by public funding; 

  • the employee would otherwise be made redundant or laid off; 

  • the employee is not involved in delivering provision that has already been funded.

2) Does this apply to you?

The vast majority of EIS members are funded from the public purse and it follows that the scheme should not apply to these. The scheme also does not apply to those who are working from home. If either or both of these points cover your situation it is our view that the furlough scheme is inappropriate.

3) Where the scheme can apply and management wishes to roll it out, it is a requirement of the scheme that individuals are asked if they wish to participate. If you are approached there are some considerations which you might wish to bear in mind:

  • There may be individual circumstances which might make it suitable.

  • The EIS has a clear position on opposing redundancies and we have successfully fought and prevented these many times. You should not be pressured into accepting furlough. 

  • There are some uncertainties surrounding the furlough scheme. It has recently been extended, but beyond 1 July it is not clear what the scheme will be and what the longer term future holds for it. 

  • Although in theory entering the furlough scheme should not jeopardise your level of pay, we would like to ensure that circular 01/20 is applied to anyone who is furloughed. 

If you are facing a situation where furlough is proposed and you have any questions please get in touch with your branch representatives or Area Officer.