Can Fixed Term Contracts Be Extended during Furlough

Fixed term contracts have become increasingly popular in recent years, with employers often taking this route to offer more flexibility to their workforce. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown measures have left many employees on fixed term contracts uncertain about their future. The introduction of the government`s furlough scheme has added another layer of complexity to this issue, leaving many people wondering whether their fixed term contracts can be extended whilst they are on furlough.

The short answer is yes, fixed term contracts can be extended during furlough, but it`s important to understand the rules and regulations around this. As with any employment contract, both parties have to be in agreement for any changes to be made. This means that employers cannot unilaterally extend a fixed term contract, even if an employee is on furlough.

Employees who are on furlough have the same rights as those who are still working, including protection against unfair dismissal and discrimination. This means that employers cannot use the furlough scheme as a reason to terminate an employee`s fixed term contract prematurely. Employers should be aware that if they attempt to do so, they could be at risk of legal action and substantial compensation claims.

However, there are circumstances in which a fixed term contract can be extended during furlough. For example, if an employee`s contract is due to expire during the furlough period, and the employer wishes to extend it, they must obtain the employee`s agreement in writing. This is because any extension of a fixed term contract is a variation of the original contract, and changes to the terms of the contract require the consent of both parties.

It`s important to note that any extension of a fixed term contract during furlough will not affect an employee`s entitlement to furlough pay. The furlough scheme is designed to provide support to businesses during a period of economic uncertainty and to protect jobs. Employers who choose to extend fixed term contracts during furlough should ensure that they continue to comply with the rules and regulations of the furlough scheme.

In summary, fixed term contracts can be extended during furlough, but it must be done with the agreement of both parties and in compliance with the rules of the furlough scheme. Employers should be aware that any attempts to terminate a fixed term contract prematurely could result in legal action and compensation claims. Therefore, it`s important to seek the advice of legal professionals before making any changes to an employee`s contract.

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