During August, there were 9.6 million workers furloughed in the UK, with their wages largely paid by the government in the hope of preventing mass redundancies. The latest number of redundancies currently stands at over 186,000. The concern now is how many of the millions on furlough will join them when the scheme finishes at the end of October.
If you’re worried you’re about to be made redundant, the most practical step you can take is to start considering your options.
Changes on the horizon
Unlike Germany, which is expected to extend its furlough scheme (Kurzarbeit) for another 24 months, the UK’s scheme ends this month. Since July, furloughed employees have been able to go back part-time. Since August, employers have had to cover National Insurance and pension contributions. Since September, employers have had to pay 10% of furloughed employees’ salaries. This has now gone up to 20% before the scheme stops altogether on 31st October.
Redundancies can be made whilst an employee is on furlough or afterwards. This means that there could be extremely high numbers of redundancies as we come into autumn and 2021. The government is aware this could be problematic. To help, they’ve introduced a new scheme: For employees earning at least £520 per month between November and January, employers will be paid £1000. It’s yet to be seen whether this will be sufficient to prevent large-scale redundancies.
How will I know if my job is likely to be made redundant?
It’s useful to know as soon as possible if your job is likely to be made redundant as it can help you make plans. Redundancy rarely comes as a bolt from the blue; you’ll usually have an inkling that it’s on the horizon. If this is the case, there’s no harm in starting to consider other options.
Employers must act fairly when it comes to redundancy and have to follow a set course. For a start, you have to be given a certain amount of notice. This varies depending on different factors. ACAS explain this. Most organisations will also give you additional notice that your job is ‘at risk’ of redundancy.
Having an ear to the ground will help you gain early insight into whether there’s a chance of redundancies when furlough ends. For example, is there enough work for people? Have employees been brought back part-time? How is your industry faring as a whole?
It’s then important to look beyond these wider risks and consider if you’re particularly at risk of redundancy compared to your colleagues. In the interests of fairness, employers will look at things such as your attendance record (without invoking discrimination), skills, experience, length of service, disciplinary history, and the standard of your work.
What to do
If you believe you’re at risk of being made redundant when furlough ends, or before or after, then it’s important to consider your options. Many recruitment agencies in London will tell you that now is a bad time to look for a new job. However, broadening your options can help. Perhaps temping in London is an option until something more permanent is possible. Additionally, employers are regularly listing new vacancies at our London recruitment agency. Register as a candidate with Love Success and we can help you move on positively from redundancy.
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