End of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or furlough scheme, will come to an end on 30 September 2021. The furlough scheme was originally due to end in October 2020 and then April 2021, but was extended in response to the continued challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
With the end of the furlough scheme, UK employers must plan for a return to the workplace for staff who have been placed on furlough.
Broadly speaking, the options are to bring employees back to work, on the same or different terms, or starting redundancy consultations.
The assumption is that employees will be brought back to work on the contractual terms that applied when they went on furlough but, if the employer is seeking to make changes to employment terms (e.g salary reduction or part time hours), a full consultation process will have to be followed before changes can be implemented.
If the employer concludes that redundancy is the only option, then a full and fair process must be followed, which takes account of the required minimum consultation periods. Minimum consultation periods are:
• 19 redundancies or fewer, no minimum consultation period;
• 20-99 redundancies, the consultation process must start at least 30 days before dismissals take effect; and
• 100 or more redundancies, the consultation process must start at least 45 days before dismissals take effect.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.