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Coronavirus and the Workplace – What’s on the Horizon?

There are two developments that are on the way that will be of interest to employers – government guidance on returning to work and the winding down of the furlough scheme.

  • Guidance on returning to work

The government has been consulting with employers, trade unions and public health experts about how some workplaces might be able to operate once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Whilst the official plan won’t be announced until 10th May 2020, leaked draft guidance suggests that measures such as staggering working hours, reducing hot-desking, and additional hygiene measures are being considered.

  • Furlough scheme

Before the middle of May the Chancellor is expected to formally outline plans for winding down the furlough scheme. In  what will be welcome news for employers he has said that there won’t be a “cliff edge” at the end of the scheme and that he is looking to ease people back to work in a measured way. Options for the gradual closing of the scheme could include reducing the level of subsidy provided by the government, reducing the £2,500 cap or maybe allowing employees to do some work whilst on furlough with a reduced employer subsidy. The Treasury is reported to be considering a number of options.

We will keep you up to date with developments in these areas, in the meantime if you have not already started to do so, you might want to think about:

  • What changes you could make to your workplace/work practices to make the working environment safer
  • What you think the needs of your organisation may be in terms of number and type of employees in the short and longer term e.g if you have furloughed employees will you need all your employees to return to work at once? Do you anticipate that your business will be affected long term and that you may need to consider making redundancies?
  • If you have employees working remotely and this is likely to continue, how you will support them whilst they work from home
  • Any concerns/difficulties you anticipate employees may have regarding a possible return to work and potential solutions to this
  • Whether there are any employees who may need extra support, for example if they have suffered a bereavement

If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.