The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of September. The scheme was due to come to an end in April, but offers further security for those business sectors that need it and employees who are still on furlough.

However, whilst employers can claim 80% of the employees’ wages for the hours they cannot work, the scheme is set to rely on employers from July increasing their contribution to the 80% currently subsidised by the Government.  So from July employers will be expected to pay 10% towards the hours employees do not work and increasing to 20% in August and September.

Whilst this may offer security to a number of businesses and employees who are currently on furlough, employers need to be aware of the effects that a prolonged period of furlough will have on employees’ mental health and wellbeing. Many employees will have been furloughed since March 2020 and come September 2021, they would have been on furlough for 18 months. This is a substantial amount of time out of work.  Not only will the uncertainty have had a major impact on the employees’ mental health and wellbeing, but the fact that they have been out of work for 18 months will also have a huge impact on anxiety of returning to a workplace they have been out of for so long.

So whilst this news is welcomed by so many, employers need to have consideration about how they engage with employees who are still on furlough and will be likely to remain on furlough until September. A common complaint I hear is that many employees feel that their employer has failed to engage with them throughout this period, leaving them to it essentially.  So how will you manage the expectations of your employee and their return to work?

For any advice and assistance on this or any other aspect of employment law, contact Emma-Louise Hewitt on 0121 746 3300 today.

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