There was an important milestone along the path of us coming out of lockdown this week as, on Monday, non-essential retail, hairdressers, gyms, some hospitality and some accommodation providers were able to reopen. There’s been plenty of news coverage of pints being enjoyed outside and queues outside shops, and it really does feel like things are starting to get back to normal.

But there are some more steps to go and so in this month’s blog, we’ll have a look at those and think about actions you might need to take as an employer.

Next step – 17th May

This is the next big date on the lockdown route map and is when more businesses will be able to reopen as well as some restrictions lifted on our own personal freedoms.

On this date, all pubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres, cinemas will be able to open. These industries clearly employ a lot of people, many of who will have been away from work for many months. Many will have been on furlough so employers will have been planning their return to work early on and perhaps will be organising some refresher training just before reopening.

Some employers might need to recruit new staff for reopening and again, will have been planning this as far in advance as possible. It’s tricky as the opening date isn’t guaranteed (the government might yet change its plans) but they will want to be able to hit the ground running and still have enough time for recruitment and training.

The government’s furlough scheme will still be in operation during this time, so businesses will have options and can be flexible in bringing staff back to work – get in touch if you need help managing your payroll through this transition time.

There’s likely to still be the need for social distancing and mask-wearing so many affected businesses will have been working out how they can open safely whilst having the maximum number of customers in their premises at any one time. Theatres and cinemas will find this especially challenging given they can’t move their furniture around as easily as pubs and restaurants.

The reopening of hotels means that we will be allowed to stay away from home again. The regulations from 17th May also allow us to stay overnight in another private home which opens up the possibility of family reunions – something many are looking forward to even more than the first pint in the pub!

Final step – 21st June

This should be our final step out of lockdown when all remaining businesses can reopen and all restrictions on numbers for gatherings are lifted. Although we might consider this the time we get back to ‘normal’, there will still be challenges for employers in terms of staffing, turnover and managing sickness. The furlough scheme continues until the end of September for those employers who need it and it is still likely that some staff who can will want to work from home at least part of the time.

The flipside of that is that some employers will need to boost their team numbers quite quickly in order to cope with a busy summer – here in Cornwall many tourism businesses are expecting to be very busy as people still may not be able to travel abroad for their holidays.

Just as we have done for the last 12 months during the pandemic, we can take away the headache of managing your payroll. This includes adding new staff and producing contracts (now a legal requirement from day 1), managing furlough, dealing with statutory sick pay and even preparing the paperwork for leavers. We can even make paying HMRC easier with Modulr, which could save you bank charges.

Get in touch for a chat if the time has come for you to get help with your payroll.