Whilst the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has introduced furloughing staff as an alternative to lay-off and redundancy during the current crisis, another three weeks of lock-down, as announced last night, could mean some drastic rethinking for some businesses.
Other organisations may have found the lock-down period to be something of a revelation. Being forced to operate online or with a skeleton staff may have revealed some efficiencies and cost savings that can be made that will positively impact profit.
Even when restrictions are lifted, it’s unlikely that a return to work as we knew it will be an overnight event. It’s much more likely that we’ll see a phased return with certain businesses and industries starting back before others, albeit with distancing measures still in place. Spain for example has recently announced that some construction work can recommence.
Whichever end of the phased return a business sits, some planning and preparation is paramount if it’s going to come back firing on all cylinders. We’ve spoken previously about keeping furloughed employees engaged through training to maintain their drive and energy. We enabled our courses for online delivery with funding still in place for qualifying areas.
There may also be a period of restructuring, including making redundancies for some businesses. We’ve seen an increase in the number of enquiries to the helpline regarding redundancy, even if it’s just for preparedness.
Despite the current situation, all of the employment legislation wrapped around restructuring and redundancy is still in force. If you’re looking at a radicalisation plan, don’t be tempted to take any short cuts. You would still be liable for any potential unfair or wrongful dismissal claims.
We’ve put together some top tips regarding making redundancies, but these are just to keep you aware of some of the pitfalls. If a restructure looks like it’s on the cards, you should speak to us for specific and detailed support.
- Give full and careful consideration to your business case rational and which employee groups are at risk
- It is not an easy process for you or your staff, so getting the communication strategy right, including a consistent message cannot be understated
- Remember it is always jobs that are at risk of redundancy, never the person
- You’ll need to formally open a consultation for two to three weeks if less than 20 jobs are at risk
- You’ll need a selection criteria that’s fair AND transparent and stands up to scrutiny
- Conduct meaningful 1-2-1 meetings; preferably face to face and if your using technology, find a platform that allows this
- Employees have a right to representation at all 1-2-1 meetings
- Once consultation is closed and you’re giving formal notice of dismissal hearings, be sure to follow the correct procedure including adequate notice, the right to representation and the right of appeal
- You don’t have to have all the answers on the spot. It’s OK to come back later
- Keep notes of all discussions with staff, and send confirmation
We’re still open for business supporting organisations with ongoing issues surrounding Coronavirus, staff training, redundancies and more. Call us on 01452 331331 send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org