As restrictions are being lifted, businesses are starting to reopen. The message is “work from home” where you can, but for many businesses either this is not possible or working from home long term is having a detrimental financial / performance impact on the business.
This will mean businesses are planning for employees who have been working from home / furloughed / unpaid leave to return to the workplace.
The COVID19 risk assessment will have been completed and shared with employees. All reasonable safety measures will be put in place and employees will be asked if they need any further support or have concerns about returning to the workplace.
At JG HR Solutions Limited, we use a simple form to gather employee’s personal concerns prior to them going back to the workplace. Concerns are then discussed and measures put in place to support employees.
How can you support employees to return to work if they feel unsafe?
You assure them of the safety measures and invite them to visit the workplace prior their return date. If you have made the necessary safety adjustments, shared the risk assessment and there is no reasonable reason for the employee not to return to work, you can agree a compromise with a phased return to work plan. This will help ease any anxiety and you can use a combination of returning to work, unpaid leave, holidays or use the flexible furlough scheme, if eligible.
How can you support employees who have childcare issues?
You discuss their personal situation, confirm who else in the household can assist with childcare and you agree a compromise. This can be a mixture of working in the workplace, working from home, holidays, unpaid leave or using the flexible furlough scheme if eligible.
What if someone refuses to return to the workplace?
If you have made all the necessary safety adjustments and offered a compromise and an employee still refuses to go back to work, you are within your rights to follow your company disciplinary process fr breach of contract.
Flexible Furlough is the new furlough scheme that starts on 1st July and will finish on the 31st October 2020. If an employee has been on the old furlough scheme at least once, prior to 10th June 2020, you can agree to them going on the flexible furlough scheme. The main change to the scheme is the ability to offer part time working balanced with furlough. More details can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
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