We shared some details with you last week on what your exit strategy for lockdown might look like. Over the past few days, we are seeing more and more clients looking to bring employees back from furlough or making plans to do so. This is an encouraging sign. Based on the government’s daily briefings, they’re confirming an increase in transport use. This probably indicates a sign that businesses are re-opening.

Although we will await more details from the government next Thursday on lockdown measures, it’s clear strict rules on social distancing will remain. Clearly, this will have an impact on the workplace. Before you recall employees back from furlough, it’s important you look at your social distancing, health and safety and hygiene measures.

Keep in Touch

It’s important to keep in touch with your furloughed employees and we’ve shared some good practice on this over the last few weeks. If you are unsure about what your business is going to look like post lockdown, why not engage with your employees now to help inform your decision making? Ask them how they are and how they are feeling, and what does a return to work mean to them?

Remember that if employees are on furlough, it’s good practice to check-in on their mental well-being. You must also communicate company updates, so long as they are not actively doing work whilst furloughed.

Concerns over health and safety and social distancing

You may get some push back from employees who are reluctant to return to work. We’ve already seen some of that over the last fortnight. Some have had legitimate concerns, but some are perhaps trying to play the system to a certain extent. The weather has been good, employees are sitting at home and may prefer that option just now rather than attending work. It’s therefore important to ensure you have put the correct measures in place to ensure a safe return for employees and counter any argument on H&S grounds.

You should do this by carrying out a risk assessment and acting on any hazards you identify. Ensure you have relevant PPE if required, signage and social distancing measures. This will include restricted access to staff areas, kitchens etc and ensure there’s hand sanitisers available. You may also need to have labelling on the floor to indicate the 2-metre distance as well as other signage.

Our friends at Pitreavie have been successfully supplying appropriate signage and other vital supplies. This has enabled their customers in the food supply chain to continue to operate as well as supporting other businesses.

Louise Bird from Pitreave would be happy to discuss where they can help, following the completion of your risk assessments – louise.bird@pitreaviegroup.co.uk

Refresher and Induction Training

When you recall employees from furlough, they will need refresher training. This particularly includes your new H&S and social distancing measures. You can either complete this on their first day back or during furlough. Remember, workplace training during furlough is permitted. This could be a good way to show them the new working arrangements and alleviate any concerns they may have.

Recall from Furlough Letter

It’s important each period of furlough is documented. You need to keep a paper trail for 5 years for HMRC audit purposes. Before recalling an employee back from furlough, please speak to us and we’ll assist with the appropriate documentation to help you. In addition, helping you to remain compliant.

If you would like any further support on how to recall employees from furlough, contact us now.