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Plan for the worst, hope for the best: should employers start thinking about redundancy consultations?

Plan for the worst, hope for the best: should employers start thinking about redundancy consultations?

16th April 2020 - Published by Kuits employment team

Decisions for HR professionals and business owners are coming thick and fast as government guidance continues to develop as we make our way through this pandemic.

The furlough scheme

You have no doubt already been through the steep learning curve involved with getting to grips with the furlough scheme. The latest version of the guidance has been released, changing the qualifying date for when an employee has to be on payroll in order to qualify from 28 February to 19 March 2020. This now brings into scope many more employees who previously would not have qualified for furlough, because they had recently moved jobs.

HMRC’s online system for employers to upload claims for furlough payments will be live from Monday 20 April 2020 in preparation for HMRC beginning to make payments from 30 April for those companies where that is their pay date. The indication from HMRC is that they will pay money into the employer’s bank account within four to six working days of receiving a claim. The system, which will be open 24/7, will operate on a queuing system, so it makes sense for businesses to be prepared to upload claims.

Redundancy consultation periods

The government has announced an extension to its Job Retention Scheme until the end of June. However, it remains sensible for employers to remain mindful of the consultation period required for redundancies.

Redundancy programmes involving more than 100 employees require 45 days of consultation.

For those businesses where a redundancy programme involves more than 20 but fewer than 100 employees, the consultation period is 30 days.

Therefore, businesses would need to be thinking about beginning their consultation periods soon in order for them to run alongside the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to its current end date. Failing to begin a consultation in good time is one of the most common ways an employer can fall foul of the law in this area and can cost up to a quarter of the wage roll in protective awards alone.

It is difficult to predict what might happen beyond June. Employers will be able to extend or pause a consultation period once started to align with any further extensions to the Scheme. Our message is very much ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best’.

Get in touch with a redundancy lawyer in Manchester

To speak to an experienced redundancy lawyer confidentially about a potential redundancy consultation in your business, please call our employment team on 0161 838 7851 or online HERE.

Kuits will be hosting a webinar to help employers navigate their way through this tricky time, providing up-to-date information on furloughed employees and how to plan a redundancy programme without falling foul of the law. You can register for free HERE.

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