Redundancy After A Pandemic: A Guide For Small Businesses

The global pandemic has caused difficulties in small businesses across the UK, and for many, the Government’s furlough payment scheme has been a much-needed lifeline. 

With the news that furlough is coming to an end in September 2021, it’s time to start thinking about what this is going to mean for your company. Unfortunately, if you’re struggling significantly with your finances, then redundancy is inevitable. If you’re thinking about going down that route, then here is a guide to help you along the way:

Consider Your Options

If you’re really against the idea of letting any of your staff go, then there are alternative options to redundancies. You could try reducing people’s working hours, planning for temporary lay-offs, or moving employees into new job roles.

However, if none of these options are enough to save your business, then you might have to consider making a redundancy. If the pandemic has forced you to consider closing your entire business, or parts of your business in specific locations, then staff redundancies are inevitable. If your company now needs fewer employees, then this is also a genuine redundancy situation.

Have Selection Criteria In Place

In some cases, it may be obvious which of your staff need to go- for example if their job role is no longer needed anymore. In others, however, you may have to follow a selection process to help you come to a decision. Depending on the numbers involved, there are rules you need to follow regarding consultation with employees over redundancies.

Choosing who is going to be laid off has to be a fair decision, so it’s worth taking a look at your staff records. Attendance, disciplinary history, skills, experience and standard of work are all things to take a look at before you select anybody. 

Decide When The Right Time Is

There’s never an ‘ideal time’ to lay some of your staff off, but some moments are better than others (it’s never a good idea to wait until the week before Christmas, for example). The current government employee guidance suggests that “your employer can still make you redundant while you’re on furlough or afterwards,” so you might want to consider an earlier redundancy.

Making some of your staff redundant while keeping them on furlough allows them to begin their job search without the added pressure of having no income- so if you’re thinking about doing it, then the sooner, the better. 

Consider Post-Redundancy Support

Redundancy is difficult for both employers and staff, and ideally, you want to maintain a good relationship with the members of staff that you’ve had to let go. This is where using an outplacement service can help. 

Companies like Randstad RiseSmart will work with both you and your employees to provide support through the redundancy process. You can be assured that your former members of staff will receive outstanding service from career professionals who will help them find a new job that’s right for them. 

Since your business is funding the outplacement service, you’re more likely to maintain a good relationship with your ex-employees, especially as they learn that they’ve been left in a safe pair of hands.

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