Our last Blog was about planning ahead for the potential need to make some posts redundant when the furlough scheme ends in September.  Part of the process of placing posts at risk of redundancy is for both the employer and employee to think of any suitable alternatives and we suggest as a responsible employer you should be doing that before beginning any consultation process.  This Blog will explain some of the options, not all will be applicable to your business.

Restrict/ reduce external recruitment
Avoid replacing employees who exit the business.  Consider whether you can fill vacancies by redistributing work among existing staff or by accepting internal applicants, before advertising externally.

Flexible working requests – reducing hours/ days worked
Covid 19 has taught us that flexible working is entirely possible to manage and is every employees right to request for flexible working, although only once in any 12 month rolling period.  Employers can introduce a reduction in hours/ days worked for a certain group of employees on a temporary or permanent basis, or invite employees to make flexible working requests with a view to achieving the same. Employee consent must be obtained.

Job shares
This arrangement enables two (or more) employees to split a full-time job between them, while entering into an agreement regarding the hours and days of work as well as how the role and duties will be split. 

Voluntary sabbaticals/ career breaks/ secondments
Unpaid sabbatical or career breaks save the salary costs for a fixed period of time, while retaining valuable staff and giving them the opportunity to do something for themselves.

Early retirement
Although there is no default retirement age offering early retirement could result in vacancies becoming available within the business, which could then be taken up by employees who might have otherwise been at risk of redundancy. 

Make savings in other areas
As a business owner you should always be managing costs so reducing costs elsewhere may reduce the size of the savings you feel need to be made and so reduce some redundancies.

Purchase of additional annual leave
Offering employees the opportunity to take extra holiday in exchange for a pro rata reduction in salary can save some money in the short-term during quiet periods.

Restrict/ ban overtime
Banning or restricting overtime can be an effective way to reduce costs.  Communicate to staff that the measure is in place as a means to avoid compulsory redundancies in order to soften the blow for those employees who rely on the additional pay they receive from working overtime. 

Redeploy or retrain
If one area of the business is busier than another, consider retraining or redeploying employees with transferable skills to new roles on a temporary or permanent basis. Redefining existing roles in line with work demands can enable a restructure to take place without job losses. Any significant changes will need to be agreed in writing with the relevant employee.

If you want help in planning for the post furlough era why not give us a call on 01202 611033 or initially you could take a look at the redundancy section under people management on this website.