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The end of furlough, homeworking and sick pay: Impact on unemployment levels in a pandemic Employment Law

Recent tabloid articles indicate there were over 1.5 million people still on furlough at the end of July 2021, with economists anticipating there will still be over 1million unemployed once furlough ends. This trend is largely down to the impact of the pandemic on smaller firms and the inability to retain all of their furloughed staff on a full-time basis. This is also offset by the fact that the number of people coming off furlough has slowed dramatically, indicating there may be no opportunity available to get back to their roles.

Beyond the impact of furlough, there are also an estimated half a million town and city centre jobs still at risk, as the shift towards home-working means there is no longer the appetite for businesses to keep the traditional working model in place. Hospitality, manufacturing, finance and retail are those sectors most at risk, with employees aged 16 to 24 most likely to have been working in sectors Covid has shutdown.

There are also controversial steps that some companies wish to take about penalising employees that have chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Reports suggest sick pay will be reduced for colleagues that have chosen not to get vaccinated, against those colleagues who are, and that contract the Covid-19 virus.

What can I do if I experience issues around being employed once furlough ends?

Employment solicitor, Martin Cornforth, has the following comments around employers or employees that have concerns about furlough ending and the enduring legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic: “If redundancies follow on from furlough ending, then Employers will need to take care to follow a fair procedure and to ensure that staff are not discriminated against. If employers wish to retain staff but cannot currently afford to, then an alternative to redundancy may be to negotiate temporary changes to terms and conditions, such as reduced hours or even a lay-off period. Where employees with health conditions – that make them vulnerable to Covid – are returning to work, employers may need to carry out a risk assessment to ensure that current measures will provide adequate protection for those at higher risk.”

How can Cartwright King help with any employment issues?

Cartwright King’s Employment Law specialist support fairness and best practice in the workplace. They provide impartial and practical advice that aims to resolve any disagreements quickly, whilst preventing drawn-out or potentially negative disputes.

For specialist advice in any of our areas of law, please call us or please email your enquiry using the contact form.

Legal Disclaimer.

All advice is correct at time of publication.