Furloughed employees agree to take an unpaid leave of absence in an effort to help their organizations cut costs temporarily. From the employer’s point of view, this helps them survive an unprecedented economic downturn but still retain the talent their business needs to come back, hopefully better and stronger than ever. As you know, employers across America have been forced to furlough employees.
The May jobs report gave us the first signs that the economy is coming back to life, with companies bringing their employees back to work (though not necessarily together in a physical office space.) Although, regrettably, not all jobs will return, the signs are hopeful that more and more employees will soon be back at work.
If you’re considering ending a furlough, here’s what you need to know.
First of all, asking furloughed employees to return to work is cause for celebration, but don’t let that get in the way of following proper procedure. Just as you confirmed an employee’s furlough with an official letter, you should also send a furlough recall letter to all returning employees.
What a Furlough Recall Letter Should Include
Returning employees are likely to have a lot of questions. As well as stating all the necessary facts, take this opportunity to reassure them about what’s changed (and what hasn’t) when it comes to their place in the organization, their salary and benefits packages, and how you will be ensuring workplace safety.
- An Employment Offer
Here’s the most important thing for employers to know—this is an offer letter, not just a set of instructions. Employees may have found alternative employment while furloughed or simply not wish to return to work at this time. So, employees should be given a choice whether to accept the offer to return, or reject it and have their employment terminated.
- Return To Work Date
Don’t forget to include the exact date when an employee is invited to return to work.
- Terms of Employment
This letter will now supersede any previous terms of employment, so it’s important to get all the important details right:
- Responsibilities / Job Description
- Exempt/Non-Exempt Status
- What’s Changed—And What Hasn’t
For full transparency, lay out whether any of an employee’s terms of employment have changed. Even if there are only small changes, not disclosing them clearly will only lead to resentment. If salaries or hours have been reduced across the board, be clear about this.
- Benefits Status
Employees will naturally want to know how the recall from furlough affects their company seniority, benefits, and any accrued PTO and sick leave.
- New Safety Procedures
The furlough is over but the crisis isn’t. Employees should still work from home if they can. And if it isn’t possible in your industry, it’s an employer’s responsibility to create a safe work environment and work to promote social distancing. Your letter is a change to lay out what your business will be doing to keep the workplace safe. Possible measures include:
– Scheduled handwashing
– Regular disinfection of surfaces
– Enforced social distancing
– Reduced customer capacity
– Staggered Shifts
– Any industry-specific requirements
This is a time of high anxiety and you can’t be expected to predict every question a returning employee may have. Offer employees to chance to reach out privately with any questions and concerns.
Get Customizable Furlough Recall Letter Template
In the rush to get back in business, you can’t afford to risk miscommunication or compliance headaches. To help SMBs leaders, Paycor an HCM software solution provider, has created a sample Furlough Recall Letter to send to your employees.
Once downloaded, you can edit the document as required.