To furlough or not?
Being an HR company, it would be remiss of me to not post on the trending topic of the moment… Furloughing.
The tricky part to this is that given the speed at which the initiative has been launched, information continues to be released around the scheme so the risk is that what is posted today may be out of date in days to come. Equally, the detail is so vast that condensing into a blog post is a challenge.
Nonetheless, I’ll break this down for both employees and employers.
Employers : If the demand for your products or services have diminished as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and you no longer have sufficient work for all of your people, providing eligibility criteria is met, you may be able to furlough some or all of your people. This means that rather than make redundant or lay off your people, you can furlough them and you will be able to claim 80% of their salary up to £2,500 plus NICs and pension contributions. The initiative is initially in place for three months (from 1 March to end May) with a review point mid-May. There are eligibility criteria to be met and processes to be followed. See the gov.uk website for more information. If you would like support or advice with this, please get in touch.
Employees : If your employer invites you to be furloughed, they will seek your agreement, ask you to sign a variation to your terms and you cannot work for them at all for the duration of the time that you are furloughed. You will be paid through payroll as usual but at 80% of your usual salary (unless your employer is topping your salary up). If you feel you should be furloughed but have not been offered the option (i.e. you don’t have enough work to do) then talk with your employer and point them in the direction of the gov.uk website or invite them to contact us.
For everyone impacted, this is a difficult time. Emotions, anxieties, finances and relationships are all being put to the test and our reactions to these things will invariably change over time. As an employer, you know all too well the responsibility shouldered for financial and emotional wellbeing of employees and their families. Furloughing is designed to ease some of that burden. As an employee, it can be all too easy to think of ourselves and our peers. Especially if some are being furloughed and some not. It seems a lifetime ago that social media, in the wake of celebrity suicide, was urging us all to #bekind. Who knew how the context would change but the relevance remain.
Whether you have a technical query on furloughing or would welcome some support in coping with the changes we are facing, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Initial consultation is always free.