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04 Aug 2020

Employment

Concerns about life after furlough

New research shows that more than half of furloughed employees have already returned to work. Our Partner and Head of Employment Law, Daniel Wilde, provides the following advice to employees who have concerns about being on furlough and employers dealing with staff on furlough.

New research suggests that more than half of furloughed employees have already returned to work. Government statistics suggest that over 9 million employees have been ‘furloughed’, albeit over half of these are now back at work.

While many companies, particularly in the hospitality and leisure sectors, still have employees on furlough, the next phase of the Job Retention Scheme will see employers contributing towards the cost of furloughed employees. Companies will be expected to contribute by paying their employees’ National Insurance and Pension Contributions through August and then from September and October having to pay 10%, then 20% of furlough pay before the Scheme closes at the end of October.

While the Job Retention Scheme was designed to prevent immediate large-scale redundancies, increasingly it seems that a large number of employees on furlough will be made redundant. There have been a number of major employers announcing hundreds of redundancies.

Increasingly, we are receiving instructions from employers seeking advice about implementing redundancies, but also from employees raising concerns about unfair treatment and selection for redundancy. We can assist both employers and employees navigate the legal issues to ensure the best possible outcome.

Our advice for employees:

If you are worried about being made redundant while on furlough, the first step is to talk to your line manager or employer. Get an understanding from them if the company is considering making redundancies. If you believe the company is looking to make redundancies, then according to the HMRC Covid-19 Guidance for Employees (Employee’s CJRS guidance) an employee’s redundancy rights will not be affected by furlough if they are made redundant whilst on furlough or afterwards.

If you are made redundant due to your employer’s insolvency, then you should be able to make a claim for the money you are owed via the gov.uk website.

You may feel your employer has unfairly treated you. Whatever situation you may be facing, our wealth of experience means we can offer comprehensive and clear guidance to help you understand whether there is further action you should take to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Our advice for employers

As an employer, you sometimes have to make changes that affect a large number of employees. Whether you are outsourcing, off shoring, restructuring, downsizing or merging, there are always legal issues that will dictate how you should deal with your staff. Employers should always consider alternatives to redundancies before dismissing staff. If redundancies cannot be avoided, an employer should follow a fair dismissal procedure to include a fair selection process, proper individual and collective consultation and considering alternative employment.

We can help you take a strategic approach to dealing with the people issues that arise from any major changes to your business, and provide you with practical assistance to help you achieve your objectives.

Get in touch

Whether you are a business or individual looking for guidance, our specialist team can offer for help and advice. Get in touch today with our Employment Law team by calling us on 01633 244233 or dropping us an email  here.

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