The end of the furlough scheme is only a few months away. Many businesses have been reliant on the scheme to stay afloat during the pandemic, but now it’s being phased out.
With the final deadline on 30th September 2021, we’ve put together a few steps to make sure your business is ready for the day when support is no longer available…
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Preparing for the End of Furlough
1. Determine when you need staff back
Carefully pre-plan when you need staff to return. As furlough becomes a less viable option, and businesses re-open, returning people to work is likely your best alternative.
2. Determine who is going to be asked back
Who do you need back right now? There may be some roles that need to be filled more than others. When making decisions, focus purely on the role, not the person, to avoid discrimination.
3. Consider flexible furlough
How much work will staff do when they return? Flexible furlough, where staff remain on furlough on a part-time basis, remains an option until September 2021—use it.
4. Provide reasonable notice
Give staff as much notice as possible of their return. If you specified how much notice you would provide them in the original furlough agreement, stick to this timeframe.
5. Stay on top of changes to the furlough scheme
You need to contribute 10% to the furlough grant from July, and 20% from August. This may prove costly if some staff are to remain on furlough.
6. Plan for pay
Staff back from furlough, whether flexibly or completely, will need to be paid in full for the time that they work. It is essential that you make sure their pay packets are correct.
7. Consider ways to keep costs down
Keep costs down by freezing recruitment/training or hold off on pay rises for staff. If training or pay rises are contractual, get the employee’s agreement before making the change.
8. Encourage staff communication
Make sure staff feel comfortable in coming forward with any concerns they may have. Do they feel they need further support from management?
9. Consider redundancies if necessary
If you aren’t able to bring staff back off furlough and are unlikely to do so after September, redundancies can be considered. Always make sure you follow a fair procedure.
10. Re-furlough staff if necessary
Employees taken off furlough can be re-furloughed up until 30 September 2021. As long as the scheme is running, it is a viable alternative to redundancy.
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