Upgrade to ChromeUpgrade to FirefoxUpgrade to Internet ExplorerUpgrade to Safari

Returning to work post lockdown – the new normal for employers?

The spotlight is very much on businesses to ensure public safety more than ever before.

In the short term;

  • Whether it is to allow employees to work for other employers, either to supplement an income or contribute to the care sector, or encourage more volunteering, employers will need to evolve to be attractive for candidates and to retain their staff.
  • Flexibility around working hours, places of work and ways of working is inevitable.
  • Developing your online presence and communications for customers, suppliers and colleagues will be essential.
  • Ensure you have a grip on data security with home or remote working to ensure compliance with your data related obligations.

In the long term;

  • Employees might be looking for employers who offer pandemic insurance. This might include a change to the company sick pay scheme.
  • Flexible working is a glaringly obvious change. It is likely that rejecting applications where work can be carried out remotely will be far tougher to justify.
  • Reputation and handling of staff, customer and supplier wellbeing will stick – comparing the press and public response to Timpsons’ decision to top up their staff’s furlough pay at a cost to them of £500 million a week, versus the criticism aimed at Liverpool FC for initially claiming the furlough grant or for Virgin Atlantic seeking a government bail out, will have an impact on share prices, public confidence and customer footfall.

Redundancies

  • It is likely that redundancies will continue to be necessary and more so when the furlough grant ceases. Certain industry sectors are likely to be more affected than others.
  • Redundancy is a potentially fair reason for dismissal and where there has been a closure of a business, or a diminished requirement to carry out work of a particular kind, dismissals may be common.
  • There are particular requirements to consider around notifications and consultation when proposing to dismiss more than 20 people and there is always a requirement to engage in meaningful consultation with trade unions, representatives and individuals in order to try to avoid redundancies.
  • Any employee with at least two complete, continuous years’ service has the right to be paid a redundancy payment if dismissed by reason of redundancy.
  • Reduced hours, alternative roles and lay off may be considered as alternatives to dismissal through consultation, as would furlough in the short term.
  • Where a business is no longer solvent, a worker may be able to recover contractual payments and statutory redundancy payments from the national insurance fund, although these amounts are limited.

There is a sense of national optimism, despite the gloomy, fiscal landscape. Tens of millions of workers have lost their jobs in the USA since March. Global trading and post-Brexit trading relationships will significantly impact the UK’s recovery.

It is only through ensuring a smooth and continuous easing of the lockdown restrictions and a sustainable re-opening of the economy, with workers’ rights and health at the very centre of that, will the UK be able to lead the way in recovering and setting the foundations for the post-coronavirus generations.

For further information and advice, please contact Employment Law Partner Joe Nicholls on 0117 943 4820 or email joe.nicholls@wards.uk.com  

 

Get in Touch

Request a call back

If you’d prefer us to call you back, just use the form below to give us your number and the best time to call. It would also be useful if you could give us some idea of what you’d like to discuss.

    Close

    January 2021: Covid-19 arrangements

    Wards Solicitors remains open for business during the national lockdown and we are taking on new cases.  We are available for video call and telephone meetings but cannot currently offer face to face meetings with clients except in some specific emergency situations and at court hearings.

    If you have documents for us, including for ID certification, please deliver them to our letterbox at the office handling your case.

    How to get in touch:

    • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
    • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, Mondays to Fridays.
    • Alternatively, email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

    A list of our 12 branches is available here. Our telephones lines are operating as normal behind closed doors.

    Important Warning: Cyber-crime is very common including email interception. We will never tell you of changes to our bank details by email.  Please be aware that we accept no responsibility if you transfer money to a bank account which is not ours. If you receive an email giving our bank account details, please telephone us immediately without replying to the email or sending money.