National firm Irwin Mitchell has opened talks with around 200 staff members about extending their furlough or cutting hours.

Current cost-cutting measures for the majority of the firm’s staff will end on 1 August, with bosses saying business performance is ahead of what was forecast at the start of the lockdown.

But around 170 staff remain on furlough due to reduced workloads and discussions will open about extending their time away or about working fewer hours.

The firm has also committed to supporting the 50 or so staff members working reduced hours due to personal circumstances, with longer-term flexible arrangements being proposed.

Irwin Mitchell confirmed its executive board members have agreed to continue with a 10% reduction in pay until the end of October whilst working normal hours. Partners have been asked to agree to do likewise.

Andrew Tucker, group chief executive, said: ‘Due to the measures we’ve already taken and our business performance being ahead of forecast, we’re pleased that the majority of colleagues who have been working reduced hours will return to the business on 1 August. All of the action we have taken has put our colleagues’ wellbeing and safety as the top priority and we are informed by the latest business insight, government and scientific guidance; and shaped by the needs of our colleagues, clients and communities.’

Home working will continue to be the norm for the majority of the 2,800 staff, but the option of returning to the office will be available for a limited number. No more than 10% of staff will be in the office at any one time, and offices will not be open for client meetings until further notice. Those who do come in will be part of working ‘bubbles’ with the same group of colleagues.

The firm says it has tested new ways of working with clients and courts to meet the developing requirements of stakeholders. This includes trialling digital signatures with HM Land Registry, looking at how documents such as medical records can be scanned at source and improving how information is accessed and stored. Virtual mediations and settlement meetings have also become routine.