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What are my options if I don’t want to furlough my staff?

What are my options if I don’t want to furlough my staff?

Whilst furlough seems to be a popular option amongst employees, it may not be right for every business.

The Government guidance makes it clear that it is a scheme designed for those who would otherwise be laid off – so what if there is still some work to do?

There are options if you don’t want to furlough your staff such as redundancy, lay-off, short-time working, a temporary variation of contract and employer-enforced holiday, all of which are discussed below. If you would like bespoke advice tailored to your business and your staff, contact our employment team here.

Redundancy

The option to make your staff redundant is available ‘as normal’ during these uncertain times.

Redundancy is typically used to dismiss employees whose roles are no longer necessary for the running of the business, or where a place of work has closed. As this is a type of dismissal, certain obligations are owed to employees such as:

  • statutory redundancy pay
  • a notice period (or payment in lieu of notice)
  • a consultation with the employer
  • the option to move into a different role (if available)
  • time off to find a new role.

These obligations apply if you are making less than 20 employees redundant at a single location. Consultation is important and a failure to follow a fair process, even in extreme times, could result in a claim for unfair dismissal.

If you plan to make more than 20 employees redundant at a single location, then you will need to follow collective consultation steps in addition to those listed above which can make the process longer and more complex. There are also obligations to the Secretary of State.

It should also be pointed out that if you have put staff on furlough leave and you think that you will need to make them redundant after the furlough scheme ends on 1 June 2020 you can run the redundancy process whilst they are on furlough.

Further information

For further guidance on furlough leave, click here.

For specialist advice creating to coronavirus, please get in touch using our dedicated Employment Law email address: COVIDEmpLaw@ashtonslegal.co.uk

For specific advice for your business, please get in touch with our specialist Employment Law team through this website or by calling 0330 404 0778.

This information is correct at 4.00pm on 1 April 2020.

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