The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses a significant threat to not only people’s health, but sadly a possible disruption to many businesses. Companies will need to rapidly adapt their practices and procedures to suit the current situation but also to ensure their business continuity and viability.
Redundancies due to Covid-19 are unfortunately inevitible as many businesses will have no choice but to explore all options to keep their company afloat. Whether it’s a large company with an extensive workforce, or smaller set ups, with just a handful of staff, the reality is that many businesses are being affected by recent events. This can be a daunting task, especially as we need to bear in mind that new Government guidance is being published and updated on an almost weekly basis and fundamental changes have been made since the first guidance notes were published.
At Centric HR we can help you through this minefield and keep matters under close review. The nature of the virus will mean that employers must consider adapting their usual redundancy procedures, especially considering the new furlough leave which has been introduced by the government under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), introduced during the earliest stages of the lockdown stopped the likely wave of insolvency and redundancies it would have inevitably triggered. According to government figures, 1.07 million employers had already claimed through the scheme by 31st May, to the tune of £17.5 billion. We could see a rise in redundancies with more employers beginning to take such decisions from August 2020 as the rules on the CJRS change, and employers are required to begin making payments towards the costs of the furloughed employees.
Government policy very much encourages businesses to consider redundancies at this time as a last resort, rather than a first response, and it is certainly best practice to utilise all the available support to avoid making redundancies where possible. Businesses could consider consulting staff about implementing across the board pay cuts, shorter hours or benefit reductions on a temporary or long-term basis. In these unprecedented times staff may be willing to agree to this, where the alternative could realistically involve job losses or business closures. Employers could also explore the possibility of offering unpaid leave, career breaks or enforced holidays for staff in anticipation of the economy recovering from the effects of the pandemic.
Redundancy situations could be triggered by a reduction in the work that needs to be done, or the need to close a certain aspect of the business to ensure survival of the rest, and that the reduction in employment needed cannot reasonably be met by other means. Having to restructure your business and downsize can be a tough and taxing time for any business owner, not least during a pandemic. This can especially be the case if the process involves multiple redundancies, which is why having access to the correct and up to date advice is so beneficial to any company, large or small.
In order to remain fair and compliant, redundancies due to Covid-19 should be carried out in the normal way. There may be some challenges which will still need to be overcome due to social distancing. Technology can help us with this and video calling remains at the forefront of our meetings still, with a strong emphasis on communication between employers and employees. Handling redundancy proceedings incorrectly can cause a number of problems for your business. If problems arise, they may result in an employment tribunal claim, which can be costly and make the situation even more difficult for your business.
How Centric HR can help you
Getting your redundancy process right is crucial and to help you we can provide the following level of support and services:
- Mapping out the change work with relevant Directors/owners
- Gaining an understanding of your business position
- Preparing a paper on the change for Board
- Presenting papers to the Board/Directors
- Designing and implementing a project plan (high level/detailed) following decisions
- Full risk and options analysis
- Producing template letters, documents and forms for managing the change internally
- Training managers on change processes
- Implementing the change entirely start to finish with employees
- Running election processes for employee representatives in large scale change
- Designing pooling and selection matrices
- Managing involvement with trade unions
- Managing site closures
- Feeding back to clients on consultations, providing daily/weekly updates on change progress as required
- Managing any exits through other means
- Review of employee contracts to ensure entitlements are known
- Calculating the redundancy pay entitlements
- Explaining the legal implications and risks of not following processes
- Advising on the best approach to change to suit business needs
- Completing legal documentation to meet statutory requirements
- Tailored service depending on business experience, appetite and finances
- Ensuring compliance with all people related law
- On-site or remote consultations with the business or employees
- Managing any employee appeal or escalations to employment tribunals
For more advice and assistance in redundancies due to Covid-19 please contact us here or call us on 03333 660567 where our team of specialist are on hand to help.