What does the end of furlough mean for employers

Furlough has been a lifesaver for employers and employees up and down the country throughout the pandemic.

The big question for many is what will happen next, as the Furlough Scheme is set to end on 30th September.

What the scheme has meant

Furlough under a magnifying glass

Government data at the end of April showed 3.4 million jobs on furlough, representing around one for every eight employees. In fact, since its introduction at the onset of the pandemic, the wages of over 11.5m workers have been supported by the scheme.

According to the BBC, the most recent figures show 1.6 million people were on furlough at the end of July - the lowest level since the start of the pandemic and 340,000 fewer than a month earlier. However, if you are an employer looking to find solutions, it less about the numbers and more about finding the best way to navigate the best course for your business and your staff.

Looking at the options

When it comes to uniforms, we may be uniquely placed to help, but more about that later. Let’s start with the business options, especially if you find you don’t need all your staff. We found a great article that discusses the options.

The options are very carefully explained in the article, but to summarise:

  • Bring staff back with no changes to their previous terms of employment
  • Reduce payroll costs without making redundancies:
    • options for reduced hours and/or pay,
    • ask staff to take paid or unpaid leave,
    • extending furlough (without Govt. support),
    • short-time working / lay-offs
  • Redundancies

It is essential to be open and transparent with employees as to why a particular course of action is being taken. Whilst employees may not agree with a proposal, they are more likely to accept it, if they know the rationale behind it.

Staff returning to work

Welcome Back notice

Taking steps to ensure the workplace is COVID-19 secure with an increased workforce, is a key element of ending the furlough process. Consulting with employees about their return and what the workplace will look like, including any new rules now in place, will make them feel more confident, respected, and safe. You also need to consider if reasonable adjustments have been made for any disabled employees, that may have been furloughed and are returning to work for the first time.

HeathBrook have a number of Virus Mitigation products, but also the extensive experience, that we gained during the pandemic, as a trusted advisor to our clients. This means we can provide you with additional guidance as your business transforms.

How HeathBrook can help

Aside from helping you make sure your workplace is positioned well to mitigate the chances of Covid 19 impacting your business still further, we are also able to offer workwear solutions, that meet current needs.

Some organisations for instance, may be working with considerably reduced staff, and need a supplier that is happy to work on shorter runs. Our relationships, especially with UK and European suppliers, often mean shorter lead times, lower or no minimum order quantities, and it can also mean cost savings.

On the subject of cost savings, we work with businesses to look for efficiencies in uniform management, and garments purchased, with a view to improving uniforms, by reinvesting savings. In a time of uncertainty, we also know the importance of keeping the staff you have happy. A uniform staff can be proud of, still has the many engagement benefits experienced pre-pandemic, and can be even more important when business demands are unnaturally high.

We are keen to be of assistance, so don't hesitate to contact us.