The Government has ensured that furloughed workers will continue to receive 80 per cent of their regular wages up until September 2021.
However, from July until the end of the scheme, employers will have to start contributing more to the scheme as the Government reduces its element of the grant, by 10 per cent at first and then 20 per cent in August and September.
With the scheme coming to an end after the summer months, HR Caddy is here to offer advice on communicating with employees about returning to work and helping them get back up to speed:
Giving notice to returning workers
The Government has not outlined any specific notice period for bringing staff back from furlough – only given the period in which the scheme will end.
However, employers must ensure there is clear communication between themselves and employees on returning to the workplace, especially where a person has been furloughed for many months.
If employers only plan to bring certain workers back, it is important to be mindful of anything that may look unfair or discriminatory when selecting one employee over another. This could result in claims against the company at a later date.
Communicating with employees on furlough
There is not one correct way of communicating with your furloughed staff but email, video calls or mobile phone calls are all legitimate approaches.
It is typically best for line managers to have these discussions with employees about what method is suited to them personally.
It is also key for employers to lay out what the employee’s role will be, if their role has changed, their number of hours and the daily hours they will be.
Reaching an agreement on any changes to reduced hours or contract terms should be the priority of the meeting and should be confirmed in writing within each employee’s contract.
It is up to employers to try all means of communication to reach their furloughed employees, whether it’s an email to their work and personal addresses, phone calls, letters etc.
If a worker has still failed to return to work, employers may be able to class this as an absence. It is advised to not rush into dismissal processes in this instance, as employers should give the workers a reasonable length of time to get back to them.
Reintroducing staff to new projects and managing their workloads
Businesses need to take into consideration that introducing furloughed staff back into the workplace might take some time as they could feel nervous about any changes in the organisation, new projects and generally just catching up.
It is a good idea to provide the returning staff with another employee that was not on furlough so they can assist them in transitioning back into the workplace with support.
It may also be helpful to incorporate regular morning team meetings or catchups to clarify what is going on with the business, any new projects or anything they may be concerned about.
Employers should also consider providing additional training and mentorship to employees returning after a long absence to ensure they still have the skills needed to fulfil their role.
As HR professionals, HR Caddy always keep up to date with the latest legislation, best practice guidance and trends. That means we are perfectly placed to offer you advice on all HR matters no matter how large or small, including the return of furloughed staff.
For more help or advice, please contact us today.