The end date of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or Furlough Scheme, is fast approaching. The scheme is set to end on 30 September 2021 and at the time of writing, there is no indication this date will change. The closure of the scheme will affect businesses who currently have employees on full, or flexible furlough.
The unfortunate truth is that the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe. As a result of the financial support drawing to a close, some employers are likely to be considering their future courses of action, such as restructures. After consideration, some employers may ultimately find themselves left with redundancies as the only option.
We review and advise what employers must consider, should they find themselves in this difficult position.
This is a term used when an employer needs to reduce the size of its workforce. This reduction could be by just one part-time employee!
Redundancy is a complex area of legislation, full of procedures, processes and guidelines. Employers considering redundancy should take all the necessary steps to ensure that any redundancy is carefully managed within the legal framework.
One of the main factors to keep in mind, when making redundancies is the consultation period.
If there are less than 20 positions at risk, there is no minimum time for consultation. However, the consultation period must be considered ‘reasonable’, allowing sufficient time for a meaningful consultation with the affected employees. A two-week timeframe in some cases may be reasonable – but in all cases, circumstances will be different. This time frame could vary and indeed, be much longer.
If there are 20-99 positions at risk, the employer must allow for a minimum of 30 days for the consultation period. If there more than 100 positions at risk, there is a minimum 45 day consultation period.
Failing to allow a consultation period
Failure to consult and allow the prescribed time for a consultation period is a major breach of the legislation relating to redundancy. As we have seen time and time again, failing to follow the correct procedures in redundancy almost undoubtedly result in unfair dismissal claims at the Employment Tribunal.
If you are considering redundancies, restructures or changes to employee’s terms and conditions, please contact us today. You will be supported by a dedicated, experienced HR professional who will get to know you, your business and your plans and will guide and support you every step of the way, providing practical, commercial and legally compliant solutions.
Written by Louise Morris, HR Administrator at advo