End of Furlough, what are the options?
Furlough ends on 30th September 2021.
Employers would have already thought ahead and have written to their furloughed staff with what happens next. The options would be to either return back to their original role 100% or having to consider other options.
Whatever the circumstance, it is important that the employer does hold meetings with staff to reintroduce them back into the workplace with covid risk assessments in place or to discuss the next option which could be a change or loss of job.
Here are the options.
LAY OFF OR SHORT TIME WORKING
Employers can implement lay off/short time working arrangement provided in a signed contract of employment there is a term that would allow the Employer to place their employees on lay-off /short term working.
CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
Where the contract of employment has no such term /clause, the employee can mutually agree to this arrangement following a meaningful consultation meeting but there should be no improper conduct by the Employer to get the employee to agree to this arrangement that could suggest breach by the Employer of the implied duty of mutual, trust and confidence.
The Employer could consider reducing employees working days/hours on a temporary basis to overcome cash flow concerns and then for employees to be rewarded financially by an one-off payment or salary increase when the financial stability of the business is more stable but a well drafted policy would be required to reflect that such financial rewards are discretionary and subject to the business meeting its financial projections and ensuring that where it is payable it is fair and non-discriminatory.
Where lay-off applies, the employee (subject to eligibility conditions) will be entitled to guarantee pay for 5 workless days in any 3-month period amounting to a maximum of £150 i.e. £30 per day. Also, with lay- off the employee could inform the Employer in writing to be made redundant if the employee has been laid off for 4 weeks in a row or 6 weeks in a 13 week period. (1)
Another option reducing working hours permanently by mutual agreement where the Employer via meaningful consultation with staff agree permanently to reducing working hours to avoid being made redundant. However, many employees may want redundancy hence it is important to get proper HR guidance on this.
Secondment could be an option so as to ‘loan’ your staff to an industry provider who could benefit from an extra set of hands and / or the employees skill set. The employee also benefits as they would continue to receive a salary and still be employed by their current Employer with continuity of employment. Again, a well drafted secondment agreement between the Employer and Third-Party business will be required that also includes a written agreement by the employee to agree to the secondment with a full explanation of employee rights when secondment ends.
Finally, redundancy, the role no longer exists and therefore a robust redundancy consultation must take place to review any suitable alternative work. If none exists, then the role is to be made redundant. View our membership benefits and contact us for more information.
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