How to use the letter template
This letter template is for you to send to your employer if your job can’t be done from home and your employer wants you to attend work, but you want to self isolate from coronavirus by staying at home.
Your right to stay at home in the circumstances is in keeping with the health and safety protections offered to employees in section 44 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 subsections 1(d) & (e) which we quote in the letter.
We recommend you ask to be placed on ‘furlough leave’ under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This is a temporary scheme providing for 80% of your salary up to £2,500 a month and is the solution proposed in the letter.
You should insert the information that relates to your individual circumstances where indicated in the square brackets (remember to delete the instruction and the brackets before sending the letter).
If you add any other detail, remember to keep it short, factual and to the point – your goal is to keep communications with your employer amicable, assuming you would like to keep your job.
You can find more information in our website article about your employment rights during the coronavirus pandemic.
[Full name of recipient of letter]
[Name and address of your employer]
Dear [Recipient name]
I am writing regarding your recent instruction for me to attend work during this coronavirus crisis.
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.’
As my work cannot be done from home, I propose that you put me on the government’s furlough leave scheme, also known as the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’. This is a temporary initiative 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. 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.
[Insert the following if you agree with it: 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 to stay at home on furlough for my safety and the safety of others.
[Your full name]