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Returning to work after Furlough

Whilst at present there are no formal end to the government’s restrictions on work or travel, other countries have started to ease restrictions, so when will the UK government follow suit and what restrictions will be lifted? In addition to this, the Coronavirus job retention scheme is in place until June 30th 2020, so businesses will be needing to plan to bring employees back to work either before or on 1st July. 

So how should Employers and Employees prepare for the return to the working environment after a lengthy time off?

When the government furlough scheme ends on June 30th, your business may still not need to bring all its existing workforce back at once. In this case you essentially have three options:

  1. )Agree reduced working hours with some or all staff
  2. )Furlough staff for a further period at your own expense
  3. )Consider redundancies 

Reduced working hours

If your business has work for its staff but not a full level before restrictions, you may want to consider or ask staff to reduce their hours on a temporary basis. As with furlough, as this will be a temporary contractual change, you will need to have this agreed and signed in writing. Should you need to reduce workers hours, you will need to be clear about the reasons for it and be prepared to respond to questions from your staff. 

Further Furlough

Should the coronavirus job retention scheme finish on the 30th June, that may not necessarily fit in with your own business timescale. It may be that you wish to or prefer to keep some staff on furlough for a further period as you implement a passed return to normal working. 

If your furlough letter to individual employees did not include a specific end date, then you can continue to keep staff furloughed on the same terms as the CJRS, although your business would need to bear the full cost of their 80% payment and other employment costs. It would be sensible to write to employees to explain that you are continuing furlough for them (with an estimate of how long for if you can give it) as many will expect the end of the government scheme to mean a return to more normal working.

If your furlough letter did include an end date or linked furlough to the CJRS, you will need to seek further agreement from staff to continue being furloughed. Again, you will bear any employment costs and it would be sensible to give an estimate of how long the further period is likely to be.


Your business may need to seize trading, or you may only have enough work and requirements for less staff. In such a situation, at the end of the CJRS you may have no choice other than to make redundancies. While you need to follow the correct legal process, take any steps can to support employees through this process as redundancy will be a crushing blow to many people when they have just been through a challenging time. 

Employees returning to their working environment

If you have been placed on furlough or been asked to work remotely, it is likely that you have come out of your normal routine and become comfortable for the last few weeks/months knowing you do not have to get up and travel to work in the morning. So, what are the best ways for you to prepare to get yourself ready for returning to work?

  1. )Have a couple of early nights, go to bed at a time you would normally and set your alarm for the time you would be getting up to go to work and stick to it because otherwise it will be a shock to the system when that time comes
  2. )Eat healthier and drink plenty of water – a healthy and clean eating helps you feel good about yourself and you will not feel sluggish and tired. 
  3. )Prepare for your day/week ahead. Get your work attire out and ready. Act as if it were your first day on the new job. What do you need to take to work? Is there anything specific you need? 
  4. )Check with your employer and see if it is 100% save to return to work.
  5. )Prepare yourself mentally – having had some considerable time off and not having been able to go out as often as you will have liked, your mindset must be focused and ready to give your all for when you return to work. If you feel you are not 100% then speak with your boss or colleagues about this as they may be able to offer you some comfort and positivity to help you. 

We hope that you are all keeping to the government guidelines and remain social distancing, and once we are back to some form of normality, we see you all again. Remember to remain kind to others, help others when you think they need it most and always check in on others because you never know, that one call or message may be the boost that they need to put a smile on their face. 😊

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End of the Swedish derogation Contracts

What does the removal of the Swedish derogation mean? 

  • Abolition of the derogation means that all agency workers will be entitled to pay parity (see below).
  • By no later than 30 April 2020 TWAs must provide workers whose existing contracts contain a Swedish derogation provision with a written statement telling them that with effect from 6 April 2020, those provisions no longer apply. Agency workers can bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal where their TWA fails to provide that statement on time.
  • Workers asserting rights under the new Regulations will be protected from detriment and unfair dismissal.

 What is pay parity?

  • An agency worker is entitled to the same basic working and employment conditions as direct recruits of the same business (including pay) once he/she has undertaken the same role with the same hirer for 12 continuous calendar weeks.
  • “Pay” includes any sum payable in connection with the agency worker’s employment, including certain bonus payments, holiday pay, overtime, shift allowances and unsociable hours premiums, but excludes company sick pay, maternity/paternity pay, adoption pay, pension contributions and redundancy pay.
  • It does not include bonuses which are not directly attributable to the amount or quality of the work done by a worker, and which are given to a worker for a reason other than his/her personal output, such as to encourage the worker’s loyalty or to reward the worker’s long-term service.
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Remote Working – Top 3 motivational tips.

3 Top Tips to keep you motivated whilst working remotely! 

With most employees over the past few weeks having to work from home, it has certainly seen a lot of changes in the way we work, interaction with colleagues, clients and customers and the change in how a company has had to operate. 

In this difficult time, not having our normal routine of getting up and going to the workplace can leave us a bit out of sorts and de-motivated so we have come up with some tips to keep you positive and motivated through these unusual times. 

Having your own workspace at home: 

As easy as it may be to go sit on the sofa with your laptop and attempt to work while the TV is on, it can be highly distractive and often cause a lot of employees to be less motivated. 

If you are able to try and set up your own office space whether this is in a spare room, a corner of the kitchen table or somewhere quiet in your household, then do it. 

It may be simple but having somewhere where you can place your laptop, work gear, telephone etc away from where you would normally sit in the evening makes you feel more motivated, less distractive and not have that feeling that work is invading your home life. 

Keep in touch with colleagues: 

We often forget we spend a number of hours a week with our colleagues at work and its those conversations, team meetings and general support we miss whilst at home.

It’s important you keep in touch with colleagues whether this is by daily catch-ups on the phone, having a team meeting online using video chat and keeping each other involved in what you are doing day to day helps. 

With the number of digital tools we have at our fingertips, there is no reason why team meetings can’t happen, catching up with colleagues or having a good old team quiz to keep employees spirits high. 

A to-do list: 

Whilst being at home it is often hard to keep track of time and things to do like we normally would in the office, which is why it is handy to have a daily to-do list. 

Each morning set out what you need to get done for the day by writing a task or to-do list and let this support you throughout your day. This way it helps you keep on track, sets out what you want to achieve for the day and gives you satisfaction and that thought of accomplishment when completed. 

Remember it is important during these times you look after yourself and your mental wellbeing so keep in touch with colleagues, friends, and family and keep safe.

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Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update.

In these unprecedented times, we are operating as best we can to keep business going as usual. We are working remotely and will do our utmost to find you staff where possible. 

We appreciate that many businesses are facing huge financial and staffing challenges, so if we can help utilise staff that are currently not working for you and place them elsewhere, we will do our best.

If you have any questions, please contact our office on 01225 776500.

We will of course continue to update you with any further information and follow the government guide lines.

 Thank you for your continued support.

All the team at Direct Response Employment Services

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Furlough – What does this mean for you?

With the uncertainty that is currently surrounding Covid-19, businesses having to close and workers concerned and worried what this means for their job, you have probably heard the word Furlough be used more often than usual and might wonder what it means for you. 

We have set out a few common questions below and a quick guide to what Furlough is and what it means.

What is Furlough and what does it mean? 

Furlough is essentially a leave of absence given to staff who may temporarily are not working for their employer but still remain on their books. Historically this has been done in cases were businesses may have a slow period and therefore furlough staff, this saves the business money during this short period and to help cut costs during a difficult time within a business without having the make staff redundant. 

Due to the impact of the coronavirus and the impact this has had on businesses the Government has introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as a temporary measure to support businesses and employees during this difficult time.

The Job Retention Scheme allows businesses to furlough staff and claim 80% of wages back through a job retention portal, allowing businesses to Furlough staff with temporary leave and limit job losses as well as given some financial support to employees by paying 80% of their wages.  

Are you Eligible?

The Job Retention Scheme covers all employees who are paid via PAYE and have a UK bank account. All employees must have been active on the employers payroll on the 28th of February. 

Any employees who started employment after the 28th of February unfortunately will not be able to qualify for the job retention scheme. 

If you were made redundant after the 28th of February 2020 you may still be eligible for the scheme.

 Your employer can agree to re-employ you and place you on furlough instead. They’ll still be able to claim a grant to cover 80% of your monthly earnings, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

Check the Government website to see if you are eligible or for further advice on what to do if you don’t qualify for the scheme, such as claiming universal credit.

How much will I Get? 

The Employer will be able to obtain a grant to cover 80% of your monthly earnings, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. 

Employers will also be able to claim the cost of National insurance and Pension contributions which are paid by the employer up to a total of £300 per month. 

You will still need to pay tax and national insurance contributions and any other deductions necessary on the wages you receive even while on the grant.

Your employer can choose to top up your pay by 20% so you receive full pay however this is not compulsory and is down to the individual employer. 

If you are furloughed you are still covered by your usual employment rights that includes Statutory Sick Pay entitlement, maternity rights, other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and to redundancy payments.

How are your monthly earnings calculated?

If you’ve been employed (or engaged by an employment business in the case of agency workers) for a full year, employers will claim for the higher of either:

  • the amount you earned in the same month last year
  • an average of your monthly earnings from the last year

If you’ve been employed for less than a year, employers will claim for an average of your monthly earnings since you started work. The same arrangements apply if your monthly pay varies such as if you are on a zero-hour contract.

If you started work in February 2020, your employer will pro-rata your earnings from that month.

How long can I be on the scheme? 

As a furloughed employee you will need to be on the scheme for a minimum of 3 weeks up to a 3 month period, however this could be extended by the government. 

Can I still work for my employer if I am 7ofurloughed? 

No, you cannot work for your employer or carry out any work for them if they have out you on Furlough. 

You can keep in touch with colleagues, managers and HR to keep updated on regular updates but you should not be carrying out any duties. 

Don’t be tempted to log in and check your emails or give a client a quick call as this won’t help you or your employer and could result in your employer not being able to claim the grant on your behalf if you continue to do work them.

If you would like to find out more about being furloughed or what you may be able to claim to help you in these difficult and unchartered times then pleas take a look at the Government website for all the latest advice.