22nd September, 2021
Furlough Fact Sheet
With furlough due to end on 30 September, many businesses will feel the effects. We have created a Furlough Fact Sheet with are a few options available to employers when deciding on the next steps for their employees:
Bringing employees back on their existing terms and conditions of employment
- There is no set notice period outlined by the UK Government for bringing employees back, but reasonable notice should be given.
- Some employees may struggle as they transition back into work and may need assistance with retraining or building back their confidence.
- Be sure to encourage open communication with employees and set clear expectations.
- Some employees’ circumstances may also have changed, and they will perhaps require more flexibility.
Making changes to terms of employment
- Changes may have to be made to employee’s existing working hours, pay or duties as businesses adapt.
- Making changes to employees’ terms and conditions requires their consent, and it is imperative to have proof of agreement in writing for any changes made. Be sure to be open and clear with staff about why these changes are being put into effect. Obviously, employees may be less inclined to agree to some changes, such as a decrease in pay, so this could be offered as a short-term solution.
- If employees don’t agree to the changes made, employers can consider implementing the change unilaterally, or by dismissing employees (with their required notice) and then offering to re-engage them on the new terms. However, specific advice should be taken to ensure that employers are not exposed to potential claims.
- If changes are being made to at least 20 employees’ contracts without the employees’ agreement, this could trigger collective consultation.
- It is inevitable in many businesses that there will be redundancies when the support of the furlough scheme is taken away.
- Employers must still follow correct redundancy procedures with furloughed employees; they are entitled to notice pay and redundancy payments should be calculated on their normal salary.
- Selecting furloughed employees for the redundancy selection pool runs the risk of the process being unfair, and potentially discriminatory. Redundancy pools should instead be based on employees doing the same or similar roles.
- Ensure to notify the Insolvency Service if more than 20 redundancies are being made at once and take specific advice on the collective consultation obligations.
- If only some employees are affected, it is important to have fair and clear rationale in the criteria for dismissal.
- Age discrimination claims have increased in the last year, so employers should be alert to processes that are both directly and indirectly discriminatory.
Final furlough claims
- HMRC guidance states claims for September must be submitted by 14 October 2021 and any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.
For assistance with furlough-related queries or if you would like to know more about our furlough fact sheet, contact Adam Haines or Debbie Coyne at Aaron and Partners for help and support.
Contact us about our Furlough Fact Sheet or for help and advice.
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