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If our orders and contracts have taken a big hit and we may have to take swift action regarding staffing in order to support the business, what are our options?
The next steps to take depend on a number of factors, including the possibility of obtaining financial support from the Government, the impact of the current world situation on the business, the needs of the business and its customers, and the status of employees and the length of time they have worked for the business. Very few options are risk-free to the employer, but business could consider the following options where appropriate:
On 20 March, the Government announced measures providing for a temporary job retention scheme, to encourage employers to place employees on furlough leave (i.e. to keep employees on the payroll whilst not requiring them to work, rather than to make them redundant, for example). All UK employers are entitled to claim a grant from HMRC, to cover 80% of wages costs of furloughed employees, up to a maximum sum of £2500 per month per employee.
At the current time, specific detail as to how the scheme will work in practice is not available, though it is expected that detailed guidance will be provided shortly by the Government.