As you may now be aware the government announced on 12th May 2020 a further extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Originally due to end on 30th June 2020, the scheme in its current form has now been extended to 31st July 2020. Then from August through to the end of October 2020 employees on furlough will be able to carry out work part time with the employer who furloughed them. The Chancellor has indicated that employers will be asked to share the cost of the scheme from August and that further details around this will be issued at the end of May.
A number of businesses are concerned that even with the furlough options they may still not have sufficient work to allow everyone back at work. There are a number of other options available to you at this point: including lay off, short time working and redundancy of some or all of your staff.
If you have the contractual right to lay off this could be for 4 consecutive weeks (or 6 weeks in 13) before the employee can claim redundancy.
Short Time working
If you have the contractual right to do so, under this option you reduce the employee’s working hours and pay only for hours worked.
If you are contemplating redundancies then you still need to follow the legislation as it currently stands in terms of consultation etc. and depending on the numbers of staff affected, the deadlines for starting this process are fast approaching!
If you have 100 or more employees that you propose to dismiss as redundant within a 90-day period, there is a need for 45 days of consultation before the first dismissal.
- Therefore, you would need to start this process and have held the first consultation meeting no later than by 16th June 2020 if you intend to serve notice at the end of July (or 16th September 2020 if you intend to serve notice at the end of October).This would require collective consultation and a need to notify BEIS and elect representatives (unless you have a union in place) which needs to happen prior to the first formal consultation meeting being held. You also need to hold fair selection processes if you are not making all staff redundant.
If you have 20 or more but less than 100 employees that you propose to dismiss as redundant, there is a need for 30 days of consultation before the first dismissal.
The latest date date you can start formal consultation is
1st July 2020 if you want to make a decision to serve notice by 31st July 2020 (or 30th September 2020 if you intend to serve notice at the end of October).
- With 20 or more at risk, you would need to notify BEIS and this would require collective consultation and a need to elect representatives (unless you have a union in place) which needs to happen prior to the first formal consultation meeting.
If it is less than 20 employees that you propose to dismiss as redundant, there is a need to have ‘meaningful’ consultation.
- The latest date you will need to start formal consultation if you want to make a decision to serve notice by 31st July 2020 is 15th July 2020 or before
Once we know the details of the scheme from August to October, and even if the Furlough period is extended even further, you may want to begin the consultation process now to give you more options to take appropriate action at the time you need to.
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