Fact Sheet: Managing your workforce during the current pandemic and economic downturn

During this health and economic crisis, it is likely most employers will need to consider ways to reduce their workforce and commensurate costs.

In addition to redundancy, some employers may have the contractual right to lay-off staff or to implement short-time working.

Employers could also consider amending terms and conditions of employment to reduce hours and pay, thereby reducing overall costs but preserving the workforce.

The government’s job retention furlough scheme is available to protect qualifying employees, which in many cases, might provide a suitable alternative to redundancy.

Although there is guidance on how the scheme will operate, the government has announced it will not be up and running until the end of April. (This topic is covered in a separate Factsheet).

If you decide to reduce your workforce or wish to make changes to their terms of employment, it is advisable to communicate clearly with all affected individuals as soon as possible.

Involving them as far as possible in any discussions will greatly benefit employee relations and increase the likelihood of obtaining their agreement to the changes you deem best for the long term future of the business.

It is important that you do not take any action in response to the pandemic that amounts to discrimination, whether inadvertently or otherwise.


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