VIDEO EXPLAINER: Alternatives to redundancy – how to flex your workforce after furlough
This free Getting back to business webinar was held on Wednesday 6th May. On this video, employment partner Paul Scope and associate Flora Mewies looked at your options if you need to flex your employee resource or reduce cost without reducing headcount. This may apply across the business or to particular functions. They discussed a range of options when the furlough scheme comes to an end, including: lay off, short time working, reduced hours, reduced pay and other ways to be flexible.
They also discussed the pros and cons of each option, and cover what you will need to undertake with each of these routes.
A new Permitted Development Right has been introduced by The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronovirus) Regulations 2020 providing for the construction of new dwellinghouses on detached blocks of flats.
The new Right comes into force on 1 August 2020 and from this date development consisting of works for the construction of up to two additional storeys of new dwellinghouses immediately above the existing topmost residential storey which is a purpose-built, detached block of flats is permitted development. The Right additionally covers specified associated works, the construction of fire escapes and ancillary structures, bin stores for example.
The Right is subject to detailed criteria being met and to a prior approval process to the Local Planning Authority who can consider the acceptability of the proposed development in a range of respects. A link to the Regulations is here.
The Regulations additionally include a number of further amendments including additional rights for the holding of markets and for additional temporary uses of land for a time limited period. They additionally include amendments to existing permitted development rights for the change of use of buildings to dwellinghouses through a requirement that there be adequate natural light in all habitable rooms.
Some organisations are prioritising properties, known to be higher risk, such as properties with open flues, or near to the certificate expiry date.
Vulnerable staff and tenants need protection, safe working practices need to be established, and communicated. Organisations should bring forward servicing for people known to be vulnerable – but bearing in mind the guidance as to preserving the annual test date.
The reaction from NCVO is that this is an important first step. However, it will not stop well run charities from closing and others will look very different in a few months’ time.
The duty is to inform and consult appropriate representatives of the “affected employees”.
Note that the term “affected employees” means those who may be “affected by the proposed dismissals or who may be affected by measures taken in connection with those dismissals”. The term extends beyond those immediately at risk of dismissal to include those affected by measures associated with the redundancies.
“Appropriate representatives” can be:
- The Trade Union (if recognised)
- (For any roles not covered by collective recognition) any existing standing body of elected or appointed employee representatives (if already in place)
- Employee representatives, who are elected specifically for redundancy consultation
Although there is no formal selection process that must be followed in order to furlough staff, the basis for selecting who will be furloughed should be explained to all relevant staff. Basing this on work levels, required skills or whether work can in fact be carried out efficiently from home will help this process. Staff can be invited to volunteer to be furloughed or re-furloughed. Any requests can be considered on a case by case basis. It may be that a particular skill set is required which may result in an employee’s request being refused.