Planning staff returning to work

Are you planning for your staff returning to work? It is time to think about what this means for your business as the journey through the government ‘roadmap’ begins to ease resulting in the stay-at-home advisory being lifted and the furlough scheme coming to an end.

Planning your return to work following the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and your business results in significant questions and planning required that could have consequences for the size of the workforce, the way that work is performed and what work is actually done.

The plan will need to include reviewing how your business looks post Covid-19 and does this result in a recruitment drive, restructure, or a redundancy situation.

Do you need to use the Layoff clause?

Once the Furlough scheme comes to an end in September 2021, you may need to revert back to your own contractual agreements with your employees. As a business, you are able to lay your staff off without pay as long as this clause is held within your contractual agreements.

There are specific statutory provisions which provide a right for employees who have been laid off for four or more consecutive weeks, or six weeks in any 13-week period, to claim a statutory redundancy payment in certain circumstances.

Do you need to Restructure?

When looking at your business returning you may identify the need to restructure due to the impact of Covid-19 and the need to support the continuity of the business.

Look at your workforce and evaluate against the expectations of work, ask yourself what will work moving forward, what no longer works and is there a need to recruit for new roles?

Do you need to make Redundancies?

Unfortunately, the government’s furlough scheme and the above measures may not be enough to prevent you from having to make redundancies. If there is a genuine requirement for redundancies to be made the process must be applied fairly, reasonable warning must be provided and meaningful consultation must take place to the affected employees.

Remember, employees must be selected, ‘pooled’ and, if required, scored on a fair basis with consideration of alternatives to redundancy, including possible suitable alternative employment. If this is not carried out correctly and the employee has more than two years’ continuous service, they may have a successful unfair dismissal claim.  Remember there is no minimum service requirement if the employee alleges certain things in respect of a redundancy, such as that their selection was on a discriminatory basis.

If you have any specific questions about any of these points please contact The HR Experts who can guide and support you on the full redundancy process, the legislation and requirements expected by your business.

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