It’s the end of furlough, but what happens next?
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been a lifeline for many employers and employees during the pandemic. With numerous extensions and amendments, the CJRS/furlough scheme is due to come to an end on 30 September 2021.
This means that claims for September must be submitted by 14 October 2021 and any amendments to the claims must be made by 28 October 2021. Please follow this link to the guidance for further information.
With the furlough scheme closing, employers will need to consider their exit strategy and how they will deal with the employees who are still on furlough.
We consider that the options for employers may include the following:-
- The affected employees may be brought back to the workforce on their original terms and conditions – employers will need to ensure that employees are provided with written notice that they are to return to the workplace. Consideration should be given to any necessary steps to facilitate an employees return i.e. considering whether reasonable adjustments are necessary and/or updating risk assessments;
- Redundancies – employers will need to ensure that there is a genuine redundancy situation and must carry out a fair procedure including consulting staff before a final decision is reached. Employees are entitled to notice however, this cannot be claimed under the Scheme. Employers with over 2 years’ service will be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment.
A collective consultation process will need to be followed if the employer proposes 20 or more redundancies at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less;
- Consider changes to the terms and conditions of employment i.e. changes to hours or pay– as these are fundamental terms, employers will need employees consent to the changes; or
- Short-time working and lay off – This requires there to be a contractual provision in the employment contract to enable employers to enforce this. Short-time working essentially means that employees are provided with less work and pay for a period of time. Lay-off means that employees are provided with no work or pay for a period of time. In both circumstances, the employees remain employed. Employers will need to consult with employees and provide them with adequate notice before implementing either short-time working or lay off.
If you would like advice on facilitating a return to work; redundancies or changing terms and conditions, please contact our Employment Solicitor, Rebecca Bennett at email@example.com or telephone 01202 057747.