end of furlough redundancy guide for UK SMEs

The UK Government’s furlough scheme runs until 30th September 2021 and has been a lifeline for many employers - particularly small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) - over the course of the pandemic. It’s unlikely to be extended again, so now is the time to start planning how to manage furloughed workers.

There will be difficult decisions to make regarding whether all furloughed employees can return to work. If that is not feasible for your business, we have some advice and tips that can help. 

our best advice - all in one place

If you’ve already worked through every possible scenario - including things like redeployment - and it’s just not possible to retain everyone, then redundancies may be inevitable. If you are responsible for employees in a small or medium sized UK business, you may not have had to manage a redundancy process before. We’ve gathered our top five blog posts from the last few months on how SMEs can best handle this challenging exercise. These articles can help you prepare and act with as much compassion as possible if you need to let people go.

We’ve also listed some of our recent advice for job seekers in the current market to help anyone displaced by the disruption caused by the pandemic get a head start on how to land a new job.

Below, you’ll find all these links, along with a couple of general guides to what outplacement support is and how it can help during this time.

plan ahead to minimise costs

If you made use of the furlough scheme when it was introduced last year, one important change to the rules last December, that you may not be aware of, is that you can no longer use furlough grants to contribute to notice pay (at the time of writing).

This may change, so we recommend you get up-to-date advice as you embark on any planned restructuring. The key thing to plan for is that statutory redundancy pay is based on length of service, age and pay and it must be calculated on standard wages, not the furloughed rate. Your longest serving employees will be the most expensive to make redundant and you cannot now plan on using the furlough grant towards notice pay.

consultation periods

Depending on how many people might be affected by any planned redundancies, there are strict rules to follow on consulting with employees or their representatives. If you’re making 20 or more people redundant at a single location within a 90-day period, then you must carry out collective consultation. If there are fewer than 20 redundancies planned, it’s still good practice to consult with employees to minimise the risk that an employment tribunal could find employees were dismissed unfairly. Again, check Government guidance before you start the process.


blog articles for UK SMEs facing redundancies

our top 5 blog posts for SMEs on how to manage redundancies

We’re experts in how employers can best manage any form of career transition for their employees. We work with organisations of all sizes from large multinationals through to small, local businesses in a wide variety of industries.

We can guide you through the process right from the very start as you’re planning any changes, to being on-site to support you and your employees during the notification phase and then working with your employees all the way through until they land successfully and start the next chapter in their career. In fact, we offer lifelong support - offering an annual career review free of charge to everyone we work with. 

Here are our top five blog posts with advice for owners, managers and HR leaders in small and medium sized businesses about how to approach any downsizing with compassion and sensitivity, while also being professional and businesslike so you can move your company forward as painlessly as possible:

8 tips for handling redundancies

Practical and straightforward ideas to set up and run a redundancy exercise with minimum stress and complications.

debunking outplacement myths for SMEs

Providing outplacement support isn’t just something big businesses do - it’s available and affordable for companies of all sizes. Here are five ways it can help when a smaller organisation needs to downsize.

avoid these 5 redundancy notification blunders

Notifying someone of redundancy is one of the hardest conversations a manager can have with one of their employees. Emotions run high and it’s easy to create problems for yourself unnecessarily. Here’s how to avoid the most common pitfalls.

5 ways to keep employees productive before, during and after a layoff.

In a smaller firm in particular, it’s not just those that are leaving that are affected by the redundancies; it has an impact on those that remain too. Helping people transition to the new setup quickly means your business can move forward with minimum interruption to productivity.

The emotional side of a redundancy - the role HR can play

Job loss is one of the most stressful life events anyone can experience. While it’s become part of modern working life, that doesn’t make it any easier to cope with. This article offers some practical suggestions for how to manage the most common emotional reactions.  

advice for impacted employees

We’ve also compiled out top blog posts for job seekers in today’s market to help anyone navigating a search right now:

5 ways to navigate the ups and downs of looking for a job.

how to structure your day for a successful job search.

6 tips for a successful job search in the experience age.

adapting to evolving job search best practices.

reinvent your career with transferable skills and traits.

comprehensive guides to outplacement services

If you want more information on how outplacement services could help you manage change in your business, get in touch to speak to one of our expert team. We also have the following articles available and free guides to download:

what is outplacement? everything you need to know about outplacement services.

how much does outplacement cost?

choosing an outplacement company: how to select the perfect support

Whether you're at the early stages of thinking through your options or you're ready to implement a plan - we can help. Let us put our expert resources at your disposal to help you through this period.

07 May 2021

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