Furlough Stance

World turned upside down

As we watched from afar the impact of the COVID-19 seemed a million miles away from us, everyone believing that the UK would never have to implement the drastic lockdown methods of other countries.  During March the impact was felt across the whole of the country as businesses closed their doors and people were told to stay at home and only leave for essentials.  After several weeks of lockdown businesses are starting to re-open albeit slowly and with new measures in place to protect their staff and the public.

As we reflect over the last weeks, it is apparent that many businesses supported their employees putting them and family members’ safety ahead of profit.  However there was some that allowed revenue to out-way this, leaving employees and their families feeling uneasy and vulnerable. 

As a business we support employees, who are also our customer, employed in temporary positions.   These workers are in every business sector; healthcare, renewables, construction, project management to name a few.  The way in which these people work doesn’t fit the typical mould of the ‘regular’ UK workers, fluctuations in pay, holiday rights and benefits to employees are not always available to them. 

So, needless to say as the government scheme unfolded allowing the employers to temporary “lay off” staff, we received concerned phone calls from our contractors –   “would they qualify for the scheme”, “were we considering the scheme”.  As an employer to temporary workers, the umbrella companies has a responsibility for the employee’s PAYE and rights of the contractor.  Taking this into account, we were never in any doubt that we would support our contractors morally in these unprecedented time.

However not all umbrella companies took the same stance with some refusing to apply for the scheme and many contractors suffering financial loss and hardship over the last 3 months.  The lack of support may have been due to having to forfeit some of its regular processing fee for the contractor, while still incurring administrative support costs, regardless of the reasons for this decision it may well have cost them more than their weekly or monthly fees.    

As industries bounce back and assignments start to be reinstated, would you be comfortable using the service of a company who did not support you in the difficult times, I know I wouldn’t.   The legitimate government scheme was available to you as a temporary worker, to protect you through a global pandemic – so why would you support an organization that refused to help you in a time of crisis.    

Our business will always put the needs of the contractors first, even if this means we may incur loss for a short period of time.  As an organization we believe that our moral obligation and reputation out-ways the short term loss.  As stable times are just round the corner, we can be confident that we made the right decision.   

If you unfortunately didn’t receive the support from your current umbrella company, we would be happy to discuss the comprehensive service we offer all our clients.