Top Tips for Employers as Furlough Ends - MLP Law

Top Tips for Employers as Furlough Ends

With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) due to end later this month on 30 September, employers are gearing up to manage the impact and the employment team at MLP Law want to make sure you’re ready.

We have therefore prepared this helpful guide on some key issues that will be relevant in a post-Furlough business.

Top Tips for Employers as Furlough Ends


With the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) due to end later this month on 30 September, employers are gearing up to manage the impact and the employment team at MLP Law want to make sure you’re ready.
 
We have therefore prepared this helpful guide on some key issues that will be relevant in a post-Furlough business.
 
Redundancy
The very essence of Furlough was to provide financial support to employers to ensure the continued existence of viable jobs. Not all jobs, however, will be viable after the mask of Furlough is removed. This means that some organisations will be faced with stark decisions about how to shape their business in the future and may have to implement redundancies; either in relation to a few particular roles or as part of a wider reorganisation.
 
Post-lockdown, many businesses, rusty on the principles of a fair redundancy process, should remember the basic principles:

– warning affected employees,
– adequately consulting with them, and
– making decisions based on fair and objective criteria.

If you are considering the need for redundancies in your business, please get in touch with the MLP Law Employment team who can guide you through the process, minimise your risks and help you avoid the pitfalls.
 
Annual leave
Furloughed employees may not have been keen to use their annual leave, given that they have not been working, either fully or at all, whilst furloughed and do not feel in immediate need of rest and relaxation! Employers should therefore remind employees of any policy they have regarding annual leave and encourage employees to spread their holidays over the remainder of the holiday year. If necessary, employers can also require employees to take holidays on certain days This avoids the problem of having several employees wanting to take holidays at the same time at the end of the holiday year.
 
Businesses should also remember that workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years (applicable from March 2020).
 
If you need help dealing with employee holidays post-furlough, please get in touch to discuss our practical tips for minimising disruption.
 
Mental Wellbeing
With employees who have been furloughed long term, employers will have to be mindful that returning to the workplace, either remotely or physically may give rise to some anxiety amongst affected employees. This could include anxiety about travelling on public transport, sharing kitchen facilities and varying attitudes to risk amongst colleagues (and therefore protective measures such as mask wearing).
 
To minimise the risk of staff absence and associated disability discrimination claims, employers should take some preventative measures, such as promoting clear channels of communication for staff to air concerns and treating worried employees sympathetically and confidentially.
 
If employers can make reasonable allowances for staff members who have concerns in the initial stages of a return to work (for instance, allowing varied working hours to avoid busy public transport), it can help to prevent any issues from escalating into employment claims.
 
The MLP Law Employment team can help with practical tips for welcoming your employees back to the work place – please get in touch to discuss further.
 
Contractual Considerations
Most employers will have sent out letters to employees who have been furloughed, temporarily changing the relevant terms of their employment contract and allowing for those terms to revert to the original terms, when the employee is no longer subject to Furlough. In some cases, however, where the position has not been expressly recorded in writing, employers may wish to clarify and record that Furlough is ending and the employee’s terms are to revert to those applicable pre-Furlough.
 
In addition, some employers may not want to revert back to those original terms, wishing to permanently alter an employee’s place of work or working pattern. In such cases, care should be taken to follow the correct process to vary contractual terms, to avoid employment tribunal claims. Equally, just as employers should not assume that changes made due to the Pandemic and Furlough can continue without obtaining an employee’s consent, they should also be aware that some employees may incorrectly assume that changes made during the Pandemic now form part of their contract.
 
In essence, where employees are returning from either flexible or full time Furlough, the position going forward should be clarified in writing by the employer.
 
The Employment team at MLP Law can help you review your contractual situation and advise on any steps required to ensure there are no legal or practical misunderstandings.
 
Health and Safety
The usual employer obligations relating to ensuring the safety of the workplace continue to apply and employers should therefore monitor government guidance for the most current advice regarding Covid-secure measures. In particular, the rules around who should isolate and when have become more complex, and can depend on an individual’s vaccination status.
 
To discuss your obligations further, please get in touch with the MLP Law Employment team.

You can always reach the MLP Law Employment team at employment@mlplaw.co.uk or 0161 926 9969 if you require any assistance in relation to any of the issues raised in this letter. Please also keep an eye out on our Twitter feed @HRHeroUK and for our regular blogs on all things Employment Law and HR.

Family Law Services

Have a question?

Simply complete the form below and one of
our experienced team we will be in touch soon.