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Furlough ends: what does it mean for you?

Posted: 5th Oct 2021 by Hunter Gee Holroyd Business Advice General, Coronavirus

The furlough scheme ended on 30th September 2021. Most of the workforce is now back on the payroll, however, there is still an estimated 1.6-2 million people who are still on furlough or flexible furlough according to the Office for National Statistics. The current level of government support has also been gradually reduced from 80% to 60%, with employers expected to make up the other 20%.

There are still many who argue that this is the wrong time for furlough to be ending. This change could cause a wave of financial instability for those businesses who have yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels and are still relying on the scheme to avoid making cuts.

There is also the possibility of a winter lockdown to contend with. Although we hope that we can avoid this, it has not been ruled out entirely by the government.

With the scheme coming to an end employers must make some crucial decisions. Have you got your plan in place?

Bringing employees back who have been on furlough for a long period of time

If you have employees who have been on furlough for a significant period of time, they may be hesitant about returning to the work place and may struggle adjusting their routines. Communication is crucial to ease that transition and ensure your employees are engaged as soon as possible after returning to work. Some of the key areas to concentrate on are:

  • Providing wellbeing and mental health support throughout the process
  • Giving them time to adjust
  • Offering refresher training
  • Suggesting a welcome-back conversation

Ways to keep employees on after furlough ends

It may be the case that you aren’t in the position to bring back every employee. There are some options to ease this.

  • If appropriate discuss reduced pay or hours to meet the 80% furlough rate. Explain that this will help retain more staff, with the potential to go back to full-time/pay once the business has recovered
  • Having these conversations may make redundancy decisions easier. You may find some have found new opportunities while on furlough

If you’re an employee still on furlough

  • If you are still furloughed and you are yet to hear from your employer, get in touch with them as soon as possible to discuss your options
  • In the unfortunate position to be facing redundancy? Make sure to look for other support schemes, such as Jobseekers Allowance. Act quickly as these can take some time to be processed and backdating is not always guaranteed by the government

If you have any questions, get in touch with our team on 01904 655202 or