As the Government’s Job Retention Scheme comes to an end on the 31 October, many of our members are preparing for the end of furlough. The pandemic has hit businesses large and small, and redundancies have become an unavoidable reality for some. But what are the next steps for employers in terms of preparing for the end of furlough, and how can the redundancy process be made fair for employees?
To kickstart our second instalment of the Survive and Thrive series, Jenna Hunter from Hunter Law and HR expert Katie Boots joined us for the third session on managing furlough. They gave advice on the best way to approach redundancies as well as how to reintroduce furloughed staff back to work.
We’ve shared our top tips from the session:
- To prepare for the end of furlough, start by getting a solid business case outlining any changes the business needs to make in the short to medium term and whether compulsory redundancies are justified.
- Consider all other alternatives to compulsory redundancy such as recruitment freezes, offering other vacancies, voluntary redundancy and changes to hours and pay. If you’re planning to extend the furlough period, always agree any changes to the furlough agreement with the employee on a one to one basis.
- If an employee is at risk of redundancy, before you have an ‘at risk’ meeting, speaking to the person first to discuss returning from furlough can ease them into the conversation.
- Follow the fair procedure for ‘at risk’ meetings. From the onset let people know that no decision has been made and share the business case with them. Consider the alternatives, confirm the process and timescale, and allow for feedback. Having informal catchups during this time and considering individual situations such as childcare can make the person feel more supported.
- For staff who are retuning from furlough, start having conversations as soon as possible to ease them back into work. You should consider each person individually as for some a phased return might be appropriate, whereas others might be ready to jump straight back into work.
Other Government schemes
Jenna and Katie also shared information about the Government’s Job Retention Bonus which pays employers for keeping furloughed employees continuously employed until 31 January 2021. You can find out if your business qualifies here.
Another Government initiative you could get involved with is the Kickstart Scheme. It’s been set up to support young people entering the workforce, providing funding to employers to create six month job placements for 16-24 year olds.
Don’t miss the next Survive and Thrive sessions!
Join our next Survive and Thrive webinar on 24 September. We’ll be joined by Andy Gibson, Founder at Mindapples, which supports people to improve their lives, work and relationships by taking better care of the mind. Andy will share his expertise and guidance on being more resilient. Heart of the City members can sign up to future sessions here, or you can join as an associate member here.