Contact us today - 0330 094 9338

Post Furlough Options for Employers

For the past 18 months, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has helped employers keep staff on their payroll, even where there was no work available or sufficient money to pay for them. So, what are the options for employers now that the scheme has ended?

The most obvious one is to return them to their pre-furlough terms and conditions, although not all businesses will be in a position to do this straight away.

If your business has not fully recovered from the impact of Covid-19, or has had to adapt and operate differently, you might want to discuss new terms and conditions for returning staff. This may mean you looking at the prospect of reduced hours or pay, different shift patterns or changes to bonus and benefits.

Unless there is a clause in the employment contract of the returning employee, allowing for such changes, you will need the employee’s consent before altering their working terms and conditions.

Another option is “lay-off”, where an employee is not provided with any work for a week and therefore receives no pay. Again, if there is an express or implied right to enforce lay-off in the contract, this can be put in place without the employee’s consent. Otherwise, agreement will have to be reached first for a period of voluntary lay-off. Employees who are laid off can claim a statutory guarantee payment and those with two or more years’ service can resign and claim statutory redundancy pay.

You may have no choice but to make redundancies, but before making a final decision on whether to trigger your redundancy process, there are other options you might want to consider. These might include delaying or withdrawing other job offers, offering early retirement or sabbaticals where applicable, and limiting the use of temporary staff if you employ them, in order to make room for returning furloughed employees.

Whichever options you choose to consider, engaging with the affected employees early and working with them to find a solution will usually lead to the best outcome for everyone.