The roadmap of how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will come to an end has been published and many employers will now be thinking about what this means for them.

How will the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme change?

• The scheme will close to new entrants on 30 June 2020 and employers will not be eligible to claim in respect of any employees who have not been furloughed for at least three weeks by that date

• A new flexible scheme will run from 1 July to 31 October 2020 where staff will be permitted to work part-time whilst furloughed

• From 1 August employers will be required to contribute towards the costs of furloughing staff by paying employer national insurance and pension contributions and from 1stSeptember the level of the grant will be reduced.

• All versions of the schemes will come to an end on 31 October 2020

Employers will now be facing some challenging decisions. Site closures, redundancies and other workforce planning measures may be necessary to stay afloat.

Employers may want to offer voluntary redundancy which allows mutually agreed terms for an employee's departure from the organisation. For employers, voluntary redundancy can be easier to negotiate and much less time-consuming, provided less than 20 staff are involved.

Employers will need to consider terms to be offered to employees, and also reserve the right to refuse requests if necessary. We recommend providing employees with a letter setting out the terms proposed and a draft settlement agreement to consider to reflect any agreed terms. In order for a settlement agreement to be legally binding, the employee must receive the benefit of independent legal advice. It is customary for employers to cover their employees' reasonable legal costs for such purposes.

Michael Delaney is a partner at award-winning law firmVWV, which has offices in Clarendon Road, Watford