REDUNDANCY OR NO REDUNDANCY: HOW CAN SMALL BUSINESS PREPARE FOR FURLOUGH TO END?

COVID-19 has been a challenging time for all businesses, especially those who a relatively small. Many have had to adapt their services to be in line with the lockdown regulations, while some have had to stop all trade completely for the time being.

The government’s Job Retention Scheme has provided a lifeline for all those employers who otherwise would have had to terminate staff in order to keep their business afloat. Even those with financial difficulties have been able to keep staff on payroll thanks to furlough.

In January of this year, the number of employees on furlough was 4.7 million- but with the payment scheme due to end in September, businesses need to put a plan of action into place for how employees are going to be treated once they no longer have the financial support from the Government. Here are some ways in which you can prepare for the end of the furlough scheme:

Redundancy

If your business had struggled badly during the pandemic, then redundancy is probably inevitable. But knowing that doesn’t make the process of letting your staff go any easier. In fact, after the difficult year that everyone has had, it seems like the timing couldn’t be worse.

As a business, you’ll need to decide which staff you’re going to have to let go, so you’ll need to make sure that you have fair and adequate selection criteria. Check if you need to follow any of the rules on employee consultation over redundancy first. You then need to plan for how you’re going to let the selected staff members go, and how you will help them come to terms with their unemployment.

To show how much you care about your employees, why not use an outplacement service like Randstad RiseSmart, who specialise in helping with smooth career transition services? Randstad RiseSmart’s dedicated team of career professionals will work with your former employees and provide a safe pair of hands for them to rely on during their unemployment. They provide people with career coaching, CV writing and customised job selection to help them get back on their feet again sooner, allowing you to maintain a good relationship with your former employees.

Alternatives To Redundancy

If you’re thinking about redundancy but aren’t sure if it’s the route you need to take, then consider these alternatives:

Reducing Working Hours: If your business is in trouble financially, then you should be completely honest with your employees about what this could mean for them. Most people will be happy to work reduced hours if it means that no one has to lose their job, and changing an employee’s contract only has to be a temporary thing.

Temporary Lay-Offs: Another option is to let your staff know that they’ll need to take a specific amount of unpaid time off work. This allows your business to get its finances together- though there’s always the risk of your employees finding another job while they’re laid off.

Changing Job Roles: If your business has changed or become restructured since COVID first began, then you may no longer need staff to work in certain job roles. But instead of laying them off, you could always move them into a new role that needs to be filled, should there be one available.

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