Furlough – How to decide which Employee’s return to work first.

Employers must urgently start planning what happens next in terms of the working arrangements of their furloughed employees. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has recently been extended until 31st October 2020 and from 1st July, will offer Employers greater flexibility in being able to return their Employee’s to work who are on furlough leave.

But Employers who fail to engage their Employee’s in the process and fail to plan the return to work process, may be creating more challenges for themselves than necessary.

At Trinity HR, we like to keep things practical and recommend the following tips as you start to contemplate your safe return to work process.

The following 3 tests should be satisfied before returning Employees to work (CIPD):

⛔️Is it essential?

  • Can they continue working from home? If not, is their job role essential?
  • If the job role is not essential, can you continue the furlough arrangements?

⛔️Is it safe?

  • Have the required Government Covid safety measures been implemented?
  • Have you undertaken the necessary risk assessments?
  • Do you have the required PPE in place for your staff?

⛔️Is it mutually agreed?

  • Have you had dialogue with your Employees about returning to work?
  • Are there any reasonable adjustments required in the workplace before Employee’s return?
  • Have you followed-up agreements in writing including the date of return?

But how do I decide who returns to work first?

There is no definitive rule, but decisions need to be fair and inclusive.

Consider asking for Volunteers first. Some Employees will be eager to return to the workplace.

Consider which job roles are essential to returning. Identify eligible Employees, notify them of intended return plans, listen and address any concerns and finally agree date of return.

As the situation changes and the Government changes guidance and safety requirements and lockdown eases, flexibility will be required from both the Employer and Employee.  The earlier Employers engage with their Employee’s about the return to work plans, the better.

What are the practical steps I need to follow to return Employees to work?

  • Have a Safe Return to Work Plan
  • Implement safety measures
  • Identify who needs to return and when
  • Communicate decisions in writing
  • Address any concerns individually

Contact Trinity HR for further advice and support, we are happy to help.