Employers warned: Rehire staff fired over coronavirus fears so they receive government support

Employers who have fired staff over an expected coronavirus downturn must reinstate them so they are eligible for government support, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said on Friday (27 March 2020). 

Last week fresh guidance was issued on who is eligible to receive 80 per cent of their wages under the government’s job retention scheme, which made clear that those who have been sacked since 28 February are eligible for support if they are rehired.

The official guidance states that ‘the scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired by their employer'.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “Those employers who have fired staff because of the impact of coronavirus must immediately reinstate them. 

“The official guidance is clear that anyone made redundant since 28 February is entitled to 80 per cent of their wages under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme. 

“Not doing so will result in unnecessary suffering and hardship for thousands of working families across Britain. 

“The government has implemented this support to ease the burden on both employers and employees.

“It would be morally repugnant of any employer to simply abandon people who work for them day in day out simply to downsize, or to avoid added paperwork, at a moment of acute national crisis. 

“This message is also relevant for those organisations who are still considering whether to register their staff under the scheme – they need to sign up as soon as possible and ensure their workforce are aware they’re doing it. 

“For those bad bosses who insist on firing their workers or neglect to register them under the scheme, Unite isn’t going away, we will expose you, we will challenge your actions and we will take legal actions for unfair dismissals.”