Hr Services

After COVID-19: Bringing People back from Furlough

Monday, October 5, 2020

Bringing your people back from furlough

You have had the Management meetings, worked out what you need to do as a business, sent some or maybe all of your workforce, (most of them happily and skipping) into the new norm that is now called furlough.

Having navigated through the maze of furlough, sent out the correct legally enforceable letters, dealt with endless questions galore around holiday pay, T&Cs and making that complicated claim! The tides are shifting and hang on….

You have been told that the multi-million-pound project will re-start soon, or maybe just maybe the UK lock down restrictions are going to be lifted and we can get back to the office...

We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again. (Queens speech)

So, what do you do next?

Easy! Plan and prepare for when the times come, which it will. We do not yet have confirmation as to when, or to what extent, what we know  is that it is time to start thinking about your ‘after lock-down’ people strategy. Some planning and preparation will be required to ensure that it goes smoothly.

Here are a few key topics we think you need to consider before you write that letter:  De –furlough AND MAYBE even open the doors of the office

  • What is key is ensuring the Health & Safety of all your people, customers and suppliers, this could include office reorganisation, one-way systems to ordering PPE in line with government guidelines.  Do not be fooled by thinking there is an easy solution, you must get your employees’ buy-in to your health and safety solutions.  Employment tribunals relating to disputes over an employee feeling in imminent danger have not been common. But for the foreseeable future, it may been entirely reasonable for an employee to feel threatened by even showing up at work. And in these cases, it is the employee’s belief that counts, not your opinion.
  • If prolonged social distancing rules impact your workplace, can employees     work remotely or on a staggered shift pattern?
  • Have you considered GDPR?
  • Will there be enough work for everyone? If you need to consider a workforce restructure or make redundancies, there are important legal processes and timelines to think about.
  • Remember that a period of furlough must be for a minimum of three weeks in order to make a claim.

How to bring employees back from furlough

Getting back to business potentially needs more thought, after time in isolation and not being involved in the business, your people may be apprehensive about returning to work, especially surrounding H&S.

 

Communication is key.  Tell them what changes you have made, and what is expected of them. Follow it up in writing (we advise to give them as much notice as possible) and explain the detail including what it means to be De-furloughed and the impact on their T&Cs.  Do not forget about your non furloughed workers who have been obediently working from home and using all sorts of fancy apps to keep the visuals and communication going, tell them the plans if it is office reopening time!

We are working with clients on all these topics, as we said before, planning is key for a successful strategy.  if it’s something you would like to chat about then please contact the team on info@warwickhr.com or 01926 754 085, we always love to chat people and strategy.

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