Coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the UK, led Chancellor Rishi Sunak to take some unprecedented measures. Offering £330 billion worth of financial aid to the country’s businesses in a bid to stem the negative effects on the economy, one of these measures includes paying 80 percent of the salary of furloughed staff.
With many facing the prospect of losing their jobs, Rishi Sunak detailed a series of emergency measures, from changes to benefits to mortgage holidays.
Among them are plans for a bailout to cover the wages of millions of UK workers.
He pledged to cover 80 percent of salaries up to £2,500 per month.
All UK employers are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.
Employers then submit information to HMRC about the workers that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.
Phil Crowe, Employment Law partner at Shoosmiths, said: “Employers and managers need to start anticipating possible job losses now and if they think they may need to use the scheme to help prevent redundancies, they need to start having these conversations with staff as soon as possible.
“Employees are understandably worried and the earlier these discussions can happen the easier it will be to reassure staff about the potential measures that can be put in place to protect them financially.
“The key is to have open, frank and honest communication with your team. Don’t make promises you can’t fulfil, but explain that the new programme should help businesses ride out the storm until the economy bounces back.
“Set out the situation and make it clear what the alternatives are – for example if affected staff don’t agree to be furloughed in the short term it could have a domino effect and lead to wider problems for the business, including whole teams being made redundant or even in the worst cases businesses going under.
“Now is the time for everyone to be working side by side. The Government’s new job retention scheme will only work if employers and employees work together and decide on a course of action which puts the business and its wider workforce first.”