Please note: The furlough leave scheme recommended below closed to new entrants on 10th June 2020. Revised options are being drafted and will be incorporated into the advice and letter below very shortly.
Guidance on using the letter
This letter template is for you to send to your employer when they are requiring you to attend work, but you want to work from home and think you could home work. The letter assumes that you are fit and able to work.
The letter sets out some of the issues in favour of you working from home. In particular we focus on your right to stay at home in the circumstances, which is in keeping with the health and safety protections offered to employees in section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 as quoted in the letter. We recommend that you ask to be placed on furlough leave under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
You should insert the information that relates to your individual circumstances where indicated in the square brackets (remember to delete the instruction and brackets before sending the letter). In particular, you are asked to explain how you can work from home. We suggest you create a short factual list with numbers or bullet points. Keep all your revisions brief, factual and relevant. Your goal is to convince your employer that you can work from home and to remain in employment.
You can find more information in our website article about your employment rights during the coronavirus pandemic.
[Letter heading with your name and address]
[Name and address of employer]
Dear [Employer name]
I am writing regarding your recent instruction for me to attend work during this coronavirus crisis.
I believe that I can undertake my duties from home in the following ways
[Briefly list how you can work from home]
According to the government rules, it is only permissible to travel for work which is strictly necessary, and I do not believe that my work is strictly necessary. Indeed, it is important that we should stay at home where possible, for the health and safety of ourselves, those in our households, and others outside of our households.
Also, my right to stay at home in the circumstances is consistent with s.44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 re Health & Safety, subsections 1(d) & (e) which state:
(d) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he left (or proposed to leave) or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to his place of work or any dangerous part of his place of work, or
(e) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he took (or proposed to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or other persons from the danger.’
But if you think that my work cannot be done from home, I propose that you put me on furlough leave, also known as the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. This is a temporary scheme open to all UK employers starting from 1 March 2020. It is designed to support employers ‘whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).’
There is no doubt that your operations have been severely affected by coronavirus, therefore the scheme is for you. Furthermore, there is nothing in the scheme which suggests that it only exists to prevent redundancies.
Under the scheme the government will reimburse you 80% of my salary up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You can apply through the HMRC website. I am happy to receive only 80% of my salary, so it will not cost you anything
I appreciate we are going through unprecedented times, but I think the government scheme provides a solution. I would be grateful if you could reconsider your position and allow me either to work from home, or to stay at home on furlough for my safety and the safety of others.
[Employee’s full name]