After being extended multiple times over the past year, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) aka ‘furlough’  is due to come to a close. Whilst many were able to come back to work as the economy reopened, hundreds are still left on the furlough scheme, wondering what is next. Because of this, employers now have to make some difficult decisions about their employees return to work. But with 333’s HR Support, we hope we can make it a little easier.

In this blog, we’re looking at the next steps to take if you aren’t already in the process.
There are a few different things you can do:

  • Bring furloughed workers back under the same conditions as pre-pandemic.
  • Bring them back under new terms and conditions, making adjustments.
  • Dismiss furloughed workers if they’ve been employed there for under two years.
  • Make workers redundant.

Bringing people back:

As the scheme was put in place to support those whose jobs couldn’t continue throughout the pandemic, employers should now have a clear idea of who can come back. Many who were put on furlough for lockdown reasons have now returned to the workplace, as their roles can continue safely.

‘The most recent figures show 1.6 million people were on furlough at the end of July– the lowest level since the start of the pandemic and 340,000 fewer than a month earlier.’ – bbc.co.uk

However, if the company is still unable to operate fully, or if business has lessened or changed, you may have to let people go. To put it simply, the decision needs to be cost-effective, fair and beneficial to business in the long run.

Stay Flexible:

In certain cases, you may wish to consider redeployment. Say your business needs have changed: you may be able to restructure your employee roles. This would minimise redundancies and help your company to get back into action asap. Of course, employees must agree to these changes as they could include different duties, hours, pay or more.

Redundancy:

Where the other options aren’t possible, you may need to consider redundancies. If there are no volunteer redundancies, be sure to take great care and consideration when deciding who is at risk of forced redundancy. We can help you through this process to ensure it’s done fairly and in line with current regulations.

‘Employers, take note; the end of furlough is not a fair reason for dismissal. A proper process needs to be executed, and one that will probably incorporate some form of consultation.’ – hrchampions.co.uk

Communicate:

Whatever the outcome, the most important part of this process is to communicate, regardless of length of service.  Honesty is the best policy: we believe in speaking openly to help your employees prepare for the next step. Imagine being furloughed throughout the pandemic, thinking you’d be able to return eventually, only to be suddenly made redundant.

Workers who are returning will also need to be given prior notice, giving a specific date of their return to work. You should also include any other information such as covid precautions. There’s no set time on how far in advance you should notify them, but in our opinion as HR Advisors, the sooner the better. Employees should also be able to voice any questions or concerns prior to returning. Bear in mind that people may have mental or physical health problems that could’ve been exacerbated over this past year, and may require certain adjustments.

333 Can Help:

We understand that the end of the furlough scheme is a difficult period for employers, with lots of hard decisions. Here at Triple Three Solutions, our HR Services can help. Along with guiding you through the process, we offer support to transitioning employees who are at risk of redundancy. If you’d like to learn more, or for any other HR Advice, please get in touch. You can call 0333 050 3330, use our contact page, or email lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk.