Help and advice much appreciated!

Hello All

Quick background:

- I'm part way through my Level 5, so not yet qualified

- I am the only 'HR' that my company has

- We are a recruitment company, 52 people, privately owned

- We have placed 6 people on furlough leave; I'm confident that I've managed the process (letters, communication etc) in best practice

Current situation:

- One of the individuals on furlough leave has talked to their manager regarding their current mental health state; feelings of anxiety and demotivation

- This individual has been with the organisation just over a year, they have not performed to target and have not demonstrated the capability expected BUT their performance had not in any way been formally addressed prior to being placed on furlough leave

- This individual has spoken to their manager and been honest enough to say that they are thinking about a complete change of career and that they have applied for engineering apprenticeships but have been turned down

- The manager is feeling torn between looking after this individual's wellbeing and acting upon the information that they have given; i.e. that there is likely not a long term commitment to our organisation from this employee

- As an organisation we encourage a culture of openness and therefore it is not frowned upon to admit that there may be other avenues that are in your future; however, in the current climate it has been made clear that all hands are needed on deck

- The manager has directly asked the employee (hypothetically as there is not the market currently to bring them back from furlough leave) if they were asked to return, would they be happy to, and the answer to this was that they are currently 75% sure they would rather go into engineering... but if they could come back and not have to business develop (recruitment is a sales role so this is a major remit) then they would do it

What do we do?!?:

- We need individuals who can carry us forward, the next 6-12 months are going to be tough

- I don't feel we can go straight into a capability situation as this was not initiated before furlough leave

- I'm concerned that there is the anxiety part to this and we have a responsibility there

I have very little experience and I'm trying to run scenarios to work out where any risk lies and would appreciate any input.

Many thanks


  • Hi Beth

    As I'm sure you know, this employee has no unfair dismissal protection after only one year with you and there don't seem to be any special circumstances applicable.
    The employee appears unsuited to their role and unmotivated too (the mental health problems appear mild and nowhere near constituting a disability).

    From a business efficiency point of view, there's probably little point in persevering with an ineffective employee and probably little to be gained by putting onto formal capability proceedings.

    You and your managers commendably want to do the right and proper things towards this employee, but it may be best to explain to employee that there's going to be diminished need for employees in his role and unfortunately you're going to have to end his employment - with due notice / PILON of course. Give opportunity to respond / state case and to appeal the decision but probably best for everyone involved that way
  • In reply to David:

    Hi David, many thanks for your response. It's much appreciated.
    Going with the explanation that there's going to be diminished need, is this entering into a redundancy situation?
  • In reply to Beth:

    Yes, Beth, but it probably doesn’t need to be justified or spelled out too much
  • In reply to David:

    Thanks David