Redundancies During Furlough

With many companies facing an uncertain future, there are bound to be difficult decisions regarding what to do when employees are due to return to work.

At the moment, companies are faced with four different options:

Employees remain on furlough leave

Employers will need to reach further agreements if the previous agreement had an end date

Employees return to work on reduced hours

Dependent on agreement from the employee as this is a temporary but contractual change

Employees return to work full-time

Employees return on their pre-furlough employment terms and conditions

Employees are made redundant

Following the appropriate consultation period and fair selection criteria

Should you be making redundancies during furlough?

Turning furloughed leave to redundancy is not the ideal outcome and is not what the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was designed for. Nevertheless, the current situation has backed many employers into a corner.

As a result, a significant number of those who have been furloughed will inevitably end up out of work and, while these may be unprecedented times, employment law continues to apply.

Therefore, it is important that employers follow the correct procedures when making an employee redundant, particularly as there is likely to be increased scrutiny of the way they handle the process.

Collective Redundancies

While redundancies are not altogether that uncommon, one of the consequences of coronavirus is likely to be the number of collective redundancies.

A collective redundancy is when an employer makes 20 or more people redundant within a 90-day period.

When an employer is making mass redundancies, they must follow “collective consultation” rules. These rules vary depending on the number of redundancies being made—e.g. if an employer is making between 20-99 redundancies, employers should contact us 30 days prior to the first redundancy taking effect.

If 100 or more employees are being made redundant, the employer should contact us 45 days before the first redundancy.

When making 19 or fewer redundancies, there is no minimum consultation period; however, we would advise contacting DLP to discuss your individual situation.

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