The complex question of how to bring workforce safely off furlough and back to work is examined in detail in the latest guidance to be issued by the CICV Forum in Scotland.

With the Scottish Government authorising a phased easing of the lockdown rules, the Forum’s comprehensive 22-page document, Returning from Furlough, provides a practical step-by-step overview of how employers should bring workers back to full employment.

It is the latest in a series of initiatives from the Forum, which has been at the forefront of construction advice throughout the pandemic, becoming the first port of call for many enterprises seeking clarity.

Fiona Harper, Director of Employment and Skills at Forum member SELECT, said: “The past few months have been a particularly stressful time for both employers and employees, but we are now approaching the stage where firms may be looking at the process of how to ‘unfurlough’ their staff.

“Our latest guidance, therefore, looks in detail at the options that all parties face now that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until October and employers will be asked to begin to share the burden of paying salaries with the UK Government.”

The latest guidance covers a wide range of issues and examines subjects such as:

  • the timeline for bringing furlough to an end
  • when it can be ended
  • the steps to keep furloughed workers safe
  • measures to ‘unfurlough’ workers
  • ‘unfurloughing’ and ‘re-furloughing’
  • potential refusal to return
  • mental health of staff.
  • The document also supplies useful letter templates covering the long-anticipated restart, as well as any health and safety preparations and a questionnaire to help gather information about the process.

Iain McIlwee, CEO of Forum member of the Finishes and Interiors Sector, said: “This is an excellent guide that brings real clarity to an incredibly complex subject. Whilst it is targetted at Scotland, it is relevant for all in the UK. One thing we are learning in recent weeks is that restarting is more complex than stopping and it is simple and clear guidance like this that is essential to helping companies feel their way forward. The CICV has been one of the positives that I have drawn from recent weeks, it has been open and collaborative and drawn on the strengths of the group. Huge thanks to Vaughan of the SBF who chaired it, to Fiona and the other members of this sub group for a job well done.”

The Forum, made up of trade associations, professional services bodies, companies and individuals, stepped into the fray immediately in March with advice on how to operate safely while carrying out emergency or essential work. It has since then been drawing on the collective expertise of its members to maintain a steady supply of information and practical advice to the sector as well as carrying out surveys, producing animations and posters, hosting webinars and making appeals to Government Ministers.

You can download the Guide via the FIS COVID-19 Employment Toolkit (see section on Furloughing)