Contracts of Employment – Time for a Lockdown Spring Clean?
The word unprecedented has rightly been used to describe the last year. Businesses of all sizes and sectors have had to confine their forecasts, budgets and wider planning to the deleted box. Whilst some sectors have been hit very hard others have flourished, but the impact across the wide economy has obviously been detrimental.
Irrespective of how businesses have been affected by the pandemic the way they will operate going forward may well be different. We have heard from major institutions that they anticipate mixing home working with office based working. There are discussions around whether or not proof of vaccination is a credible requirement in some sectors, whilst others have looked at operating with a more flexible workforce. This shake-up in how we work and where we work has profound implications for employment policies and procedures.
SME’s in particular could be forgiven for having ignored this aspect of the actions they have taken, given many were/are in survival mode, whilst others expanded quickly to meet spiralling demand. However, all SME’s should pause a little and think about what changes are required to contracts of employment, employee handbooks and broader HR policies as a result of the way in which they will work going forward. This need not be a long onerous process but it is an essential one given a failure to act could result in unwanted disputes down the line.
Sadly we do anticipate that some organisations may need to trim their workforce if demand is supressed for their products or services. This could be hastened by the gradual wind down in furlough support. This process needs to be handled with care and with due regard to employment law requirements and we expect to see more organisations looking to draft settlement agreements.
Whilst there is some negative reporting about the hit the economy will face there is some good news in that we know 2020 was a very good year for new business formations, so we may well see new emerging businesses flourishing as we transition out of the pandemic. Employment expansion also requires some careful thought given the policies and procedures put in place by the employer will provide the bedrock for future success.
If you require any assistance with employment law please contact us:
T: 0800 302 9448