What should employers also be doing at the present time as the furlough leave and job retention scheme occupy the minds of many?

Employers should be looking beyond the furlough leave and the job retention scheme and considering what will come after. Moving forward everything is not going to be completely straightforward for either employer or employee.

Employers may have found that their business can function with less staff and within changed working conditions and environment. Many workers will have worked out that they are key to the success of the business and will start looking for improved pay and conditions once the covid crisis has lifted.

Employers may have been considering the need to make redundancies prior to the covid issues but have put these plans on hold due to the furlough scheme. This is a good opportunity to take advice to make sure that when these plans are implemented the risk of unfair dismissal claims is reduced.

There are also other employees who are currently furloughed, who will be looking around elsewhere as they may resent the fact that they have been furloughed or the drop in their income. Alternatively, they may just regard the present situation as an opportunity to make a change in their lives.

It is worth remembering that many sectors of the economy were struggling with a lack of skilled staff before the pandemic changed everything. Even with the risk of a rapidly rising unemployment rate as a global recession takes hold, the problem of a lack of highly trained staff will not have dissipated. Those staff with the skills the market wants will still be highly prized.

Employers need to think about how they are going to keep the staff they want to retain.

There is also another factor to consider. Many employees will have gained experience in working remotely. They can see how easy it is and are enjoying the savings on commuting costs and extra time they have at the start and end of the day.

Astute employers will be looking at that and thinking how they can make changes to employment contracts to allow more flexibility and also possibly save on office rents in the long term. Alongside the ‘covid’ related issues, companies should take this time to review how they have been operating across the spectrum and where improvements can be made to address staff turnover, pay, work hours and staff morale.

Consideration should also be given to streamlining and improving staff training, appraisals and staff development. There are lots of things that can be introduced once staff start to return to the office that can be introduced as a ‘fresh start’ for everyone.

So, what should employers be doing right now? Contact rhw’s Employment Law Team to help you review Contracts of Employment and advise upon the enforceability of any confidentiality and restrictive covenants, in case you do lose any key staff or individuals choose to join you from other local businesses.  We can also advise on incentive and appraisal schemes, help review Company policies, advise on redundancy process and review your commercial property lease terms.

Please contact Sarah Twigger-Thompson on 01483 302000 or email sarah.twigger-thompson@rhw.co.uk for quality employment law advice.