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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 64752
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have a contract stating I was due to start work as a chef

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I have a contract stating I was due to start work as a chef at a new place of employment yesterday, due to the current conditions restaurants and pubs aren't allowed to be open so I cant start work. I have however upheld my side of the contract and worked my notice at the previous employment and completed the online courses that go with it. Am j entitled to anything from this company given the circumstances
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I telephoned hr who put me through to payroll and they said I hadn't done any hours. Which is true, although I completed 2 1/2 hours of online training which I was informed I should get paid for, I am also salary paid which is new for the company as everyone else is hourly paid. I agreed to be salaried as I was at my previous employment and that worked fine for me
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: I'm unsure, my manager did not respond to me when I messaged him about the government's decision on friday. I have a signed contract and a payroll number and start date, all he details basically...
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I have copies of what I have signed, I I wouldn't of signed I wouldn't of handed in my notice at my old employment and thus still being employed and entitled to the governments 80% pay decision

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I cant afford that due to my unknown financial situation

So just to clarify, you have done the online course for the new employer?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I completed almost 2 1/2 hours of online training which I was told I had to be paid for and had to complete before my start date

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Many thanks for your patience. Having accepted an unconditional offer would mean you can argue there was a legally binding contract in place. Therefore, the employer’s failure to honour it and allow you to start would mean that they are potentially acting in breach of contract. You could indeed approach them and ask them to take you on as planned and commence your employment but to then designate you as being furloughed and ask the Gov’t to cover some of your pay.


The Government Scheme, called “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme” is in place to help employers meet wage demands whilst they have no work for their employees and would otherwise have to lay them off unpaid for a period of time. The plan is to cover 80% of affected employees’ wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.


To benefit from the Scheme, employers will need to:

· Designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers’

· Submit information to HMRC about these employees to claim the grants


Furloughed workers are “workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak”. Remember it is up to the employer to designate workers as being furloughed and that does not mean they cannot still make people redundant if necessary. So you could still find that employees are made redundant, whilst others are being furloughed and covered under the Scheme.


There are many, many unanswered questions at this time I’m afraid because it is such a fresh Scheme, which has been rushed through as an emergency and it will take time for the full details to come out and become clear exactly how it will be applied.


For now, it is a case of communicating with the employer, looking out for updates on the news and taking it each day at a time.


Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
How would it work if they asked to me suspend my start date because of the coronavirus? Would this mean that I would be designated as furloughed automatically or not? I have not been able to get a response from my manage since friday where I asked the same question about the governments scheme, and whether I would be covered under it or not, or whether I should count myself as unemployed. So I wish to understand the law on this as best I can before I go and upset my manager due to all of the stress because of this virus and the potential to lose my house. In my eyes a contract is a contract and I checked my hr details today and my start date still states 22.03.2020

To be furloughed you need to be officially employed by them and to have started working for them, at least to be on their books. But if they postpone your start date then it is a case of you delaying the start date and you won’t be furloughed as you wouldn’t have started working for them yet. But that is why I suggest you check if they will allow you to start anyway, even without giving you any work so you are at least covered by the scheme, get paid something at no extra cost to the employer and hey avoid you having to pursue them for alleged breach of contract


Does this clarify things a bit more for you?

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can simply reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’ and I won’t bother you again. Thank you

Customer: replied 10 days ago.
Upon your advice my work are contacting me, so thank you very much for your advice

All the best

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