How to consider alternatives to redundancy during the coronavirus crisis
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- Prioritise measures to take, depending on the severity and nature of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis on your business.
- Make use of any relevant government assistance for businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Consider seeking agreement to a temporary reduction in the number of days/hours that staff work, or to a period of unpaid leave.
- Check if there is a contractual right to implement a lay-off or short-time working.
- Seek to agree a postponed start date for new recruits, or consider withdrawing job offers.
- Where the impact of coronavirus does not present an immediate threat of closure, consider measures to achieve longer-term efficiencies.
- Take care that any recruitment freeze does not place employees in an intolerable position regarding increased workload.
- Review whether or not any new vacancy can be filled by redeploying an existing member of staff, with appropriate retraining where necessary.
- Review overtime to see if it can be reduced or stopped altogether.
- Invite staff to volunteer for reduced hours or other types of flexible working.
- Consider reducing or stopping the use of temporary staff.
- Consider inviting employees to apply for sabbaticals on part or no pay.
- Take care that cuts in bonus payments do not amount to a breach of contract.
- Do not overlook possible ways of reducing overhead costs.
- Consider the high costs of making people redundant, including the "hidden costs".
- Appreciate that employers that cut staff numbers during an economic downturn may be ill equipped to take advantage of future opportunities.
- Make sure that you enter into constructive dialogue with your employees about any proposals for cost-cutting measures.