Furlough: Resolution, or accident waiting to happen?

The late notice of Novembers extended furlough scheme left employers irate, as valuable staff members could have remained employed if further notice was given.  

The furlough scheme has helped pay the wages of millions of people who can’t work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme pays employees placed on leave up to 80% of their salary, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. It is often used to support people whose jobs aren’t feasible during coronavirus but can also be used to support parents who must look after children or those with other caring responsibilities.

furlough

Schools have closed to most pupils in England, Scotland and Wales – while Northern Ireland will have an “extended period of remote learning”. Employees are eligible for furlough if they cannot work “due to caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus”. This includes childcare, the government says. However, employers are not obliged to furlough you. Trade union umbrella body TUC says many businesses are not aware of this rule. It simply states employers should “do the right thing and furlough mums and dads”.

When the furlough scheme was last extended, in November, it was at very short notice. This led to complaints that employers had been forced to lay off people they might have been able to keep.

If 100 or more people are being made redundant, for example, group meetings must start at least 45 days before anyone’s job ends. Letting employers know months in advance that furlough will be extended until the end of April could affect the business decisions, they take for 2021.

“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said.

As coronavirus infections began to rise again, hospitality and entertainment venues had to close in many parts of the UK during the run-up to Christmas 2020 This increased the pressure for one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, where a significant proportion of staff are already on furlough.

The scheme pays some of the wages of people who can’t do their jobs because their workplace is closed, or there is no longer enough work for them. You can be furloughed whether you are on a full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contract, but you must have been on your employer’s payroll before the extension was announced. It is not necessary to have been furloughed before and you keep all your working rights, including annual and parental leave.

While you are on furlough you can take on other jobs, if you do not break the rules of your contract.

Since July, employers have been able to bring back workers part-time, and furlough them for the rest. This will continue, and employers will have to pay employees’ wages for the hours they work as normal.

While employees won’t notice any difference in their pay packets, the scheme has become more generous for employers, who will pay less towards it.

Earlier in the year firms had to top up furloughed wages by 20%, with the government paying 60%. The state now puts in the full 80%, with the employer only covering pension and National Insurance contributions. The scheme still applies throughout the UK. About 10 million jobs have already been claimed for, at a cost of £43bn, by the middle of November, but how much longer can this scheme be extended? And what effect will the nation suffer without the support?

The late notice of Novembers extended furlough scheme left employers irate, as valuable staff members could have remained employed if further notice was given.  

The furlough scheme has helped pay the wages of millions of people who can’t work due to the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme pays employees placed on leave up to 80% of their salary, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. It is often used to support people whose jobs aren’t feasible during coronavirus but can also be used to support parents who must look after children or those with other caring responsibilities.

furlough

Schools have closed to most pupils in England, Scotland and Wales – while Northern Ireland will have an “extended period of remote learning”. Employees are eligible for furlough if they cannot work “due to caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus”. This includes childcare, the government says. However, employers are not obliged to furlough you. Trade union umbrella body TUC says many businesses are not aware of this rule. It simply states employers should “do the right thing and furlough mums and dads”.

When the furlough scheme was last extended, in November, it was at very short notice. This led to complaints that employers had been forced to lay off people they might have been able to keep.

If 100 or more people are being made redundant, for example, group meetings must start at least 45 days before anyone’s job ends. Letting employers know months in advance that furlough will be extended until the end of April could affect the business decisions, they take for 2021.

“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable businesses to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said.

As coronavirus infections began to rise again, hospitality and entertainment venues had to close in many parts of the UK during the run-up to Christmas 2020 This increased the pressure for one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy, where a significant proportion of staff are already on furlough.

The scheme pays some of the wages of people who can’t do their jobs because their workplace is closed, or there is no longer enough work for them. You can be furloughed whether you are on a full-time, part-time, agency, flexible or zero-hour contract, but you must have been on your employer’s payroll before the extension was announced. It is not necessary to have been furloughed before and you keep all your working rights, including annual and parental leave.

While you are on furlough you can take on other jobs, if you do not break the rules of your contract.

Since July, employers have been able to bring back workers part-time, and furlough them for the rest. This will continue, and employers will have to pay employees’ wages for the hours they work as normal.

While employees won’t notice any difference in their pay packets, the scheme has become more generous for employers, who will pay less towards it.

Earlier in the year firms had to top up furloughed wages by 20%, with the government paying 60%. The state now puts in the full 80%, with the employer only covering pension and National Insurance contributions. The scheme still applies throughout the UK. About 10 million jobs have already been claimed for, at a cost of £43bn, by the middle of November, but how much longer can this scheme be extended? And what effect will the nation suffer without the support?