As we come to the end of the government furlough scheme, many businesses who have come to rely on it to pay their staff are wondering where to turn next; especially as local lockdowns continue to increase at a worrying rate.
For business owners who find themselves in that position, here are some of the ways you can move forward after the furlough scheme ends.
Consider the Job Support Scheme
Put in place to assist businesses who are currently experiencing lower demand, this scheme, although not a replacement to the furlough scheme, can certainly offer many businesses assistance in lieu of it.
Starting on November 1st 2020, the Job Support Scheme will run for six months and assist employers when it comes to paying their staff. It will be available to employees who are working fewer hours than usual and ensure that employees working only 33% of their normal working hours will receive 77% of their normal working pay. It also offers support for employees working more than 33% of their normal hours, although the more hours they are working the less support they are entitled to.
However, there are myriad caveats to this scheme, as to be expected, and it’s wise to start exploring now whether your business or your staff would be eligible. Find more information on the Job Support Scheme on gov.net.
Explore other government support schemes
As well as the Job Support Scheme, there are alternative incentives and rewards that the government are offering that are worth being aware of. These are as follows:
£1,000 compensation for furloughed employees kept in work until February 2021 – For those who have had to furlough employees and are unsure whether keeping them on is the right business decision, the government is offering businesses £1,000 for every furloughed employee who is kept in work until at least the end of January.
£1,500 compensation for young people offered placements – In an attempt to get more young people in work, the government are offering businesses £1,500 for every 16-24-year-old (who was out of work) who is placed in a “high-quality” six-month placement.
Up to £2,000 for apprentices taken on before February 2021 – For businesses who can offer apprenticeships, you can get £2,000 in compensation for every under-25 apprentice taken on before the end of January. Additionally, businesses can get £1,500 compensation for over-25s who are placed in an apprenticeship in the same time period.
To discover which financial support schemes your business may be eligible for, or yourself if you are self-employed, we advise you utilise this tool on gov.net.
Other ways to move forward after furlough
Even for businesses who are able to gain extra financial aid from the government support schemes, they may find that this isn’t enough to keep them in the clear. In these circumstances, there are other moves that should be made.
Examining working hours is one possibility. Although this isn’t an ideal solution, it can be a way to avoid the redundancy process. For businesses who may be able to save money by consolidating working hours or even working days, money might be able to be saved.
Whether it’s looking at amended staff contracts so the hours that are available are distributed more evenly across the workforce, or even deciding to close up shop one or two days a week in order to save money, this can be a way to adjust. Especially for businesses where local lockdowns or curfews are affecting the economy, trying to explore a contract reshuffle can help.
The final option and one no one wants to think about is the redundancy process. A hard decision for many, some businesses may find that making redundancies is the only way to move forward. In this occasion, being as honest and transparent with employees is necessary, and this step should only be taken as a last resort.
For companies that need help moving forward, our business continuity plans can help reinforce your in-house HR, reporting and payrolls services. With our expert advice, you can have a realistic and customised plan created to suit your business’s needs.
For tips and advice on payroll, HR and other areas of people management, explore our blog