What should employers do now?
As a result of this extension, there are some simple steps all employers should take in order to ensure their organisation maximises the benefits of the scheme:
- Review the implications on your business of the extension to furlough. For example, can you re-open ahead of schedule or retain members of staff for longer than anticipated?
- Keep channels of communication as open as possible with your employees during this unsettling time, as the health and wellbeing of your employees will be your first concern. A simple note mentioning that you’re reviewing the implications of the extension and what it means could go a long way to provide nervous employees reassurance at this time.
- Identify those employees who are to be furloughed and obtain their written agreement to the extension. For those employees for whom redundancy consultation has commenced, consider whether, with an employee’s agreement, redundancy proceedings can be deferred and an employee placed on furlough instead. As this is a complex area, we advise you seek professional advice before proceeding.
- When bringing employees back to work either on a part-time or full-time basis, identify which employees you wish to return and your reasoning behind this decision. Consultation should also take place with written confirmation.
These are just some of the issues employers need to consider as a result of the challenges that have arisen from COVID-19.
The Buzzacott HR Consultancy team provide commercially focused HR advice and guidance, making our clients aware of any potential risks that might be associated with the matter in hand. If needed, we can also be on hand to prepare the required documentation and be present during meetings.