How to process employees returning from furlough

25 February 2021 - Reading time: 3 Minutes

HR

As we approach the end of lockdown in the UK, it's time to start thinking about how you'll process employees returning from furlough.

Before you start this process, there are several important considerations to make. This includes everything from managing payroll to redundancies. Fortunately, we're providing our expert insight to help you reintegrate your furloughed employees with ease.

 

When is the furlough scheme ending?

The UK furlough scheme, also known as the Coronavirus job retention scheme, is currently set to end on the 30th April 2021. This has a wealth of implications for UK employers and HR managers. It's likely you'll need to:

  • Financially prepare to bring employees back on full pay
  • Manage any redundancies or business restructuring
  • Make sure the workplace is COVID-secure
  • Manage workplace anxiety about returning to work in a pandemic

In order to make sure this process runs as smoothly as possible, we've put together some tips for business owners and HR staff below.

 

Preparing your furloughed staff for their return to work

Before your staff return to the workplace after furlough, there are several tasks you should carry out to ensure you're adequately prepared.

Providing notice for furloughed employees

No matter whether you're welcoming employees back on the 31st of April 2021 or before the furlough scheme ends, it's important to give employees adequate notice. This could be 2 weeks, or 2 months, depending on your employees' needs.

Many peoples' lives have changed drastically over the course of the pandemic; whether it's moving home or changing job roles. Therefore, providing notice to your furloughed staff will help your team make the necessary arrangements for their return to work.

Creating COVID-secure workplace

Providing a safe workspace will help to reduce anxiety around returning to work during the pandemic. This includes:

  • Providing socially distanced workspaces
  • Providing hand-sanitising stations
  • Flexible working hours to limit human-to-human contact

You may also need to carry out a risk assessment to ensure all bases are covered.

 

Processing employees returning from furlough

If you're preparing your business for the return to normal working life, you may have asked yourself the following questions:

  • Should you notify HMRC when your furloughed employees return to work?
  • What happens if your team has downsized over the course of the pandemic?
  • What are the payroll implications for redundancies?

We're answering all of these questions and more to help you successfully process your furloughed employees.

Payroll

HMRC do not need to be notified if an employee is returning from furlough before the scheme ends. However, you can only claim when your staff were actively on the furlough scheme. This means you need to keep detailed accounts of hours worked, pay and how this was calculated.

There are no major payroll changes to make when bringing employees back from furlough. Instead, you will pay employees as normal, and you won't need to submit any claims to HMRC as the furlough scheme will have ended.

Choosing which employees should return from furlough

The pandemic has forced a lot of business owners to make difficult decisions, and many have had to restructure and make redundancies in order to survive.

If you're bringing staff back on a part-time basis or restructuring your organisation, there are a few tasks you'll need to carry out before your employees return to the workplace.

Changing employment contracts

You'll need to discuss any employment contract changes with your staff to ensure everyone is in agreement.

Once both parties have agreed on a new work pattern, a new contract will need to be drawn up and signed by the employee.

Managing promotions & career progression

If your organisation has changed structure over the course of the pandemic, it's essential to outline a clear progression plan for employees on their return from furlough. This could include:

  • Creating new employment contracts
  • Providing the relevant job training
  • Recruiting new staff to fill vacant positions

Redundancies

Last year, the Government announced that they will ensure that furloughed employees will receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages. Therefore, you'll need to process redundancy payments with this figure rather than employees' furloughed wage.

Related articles

refresh More articles