This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities should not be put off from making furlough applications

This news post is over 2 years old

A legal expert has said organisations that receive public funding may still be able to furlough staff in certain circumstances

Charities should not be put off from applying to furlough employees if necessary, an employment expert has said.

Voluntary sector organisations are among the 800,000 employers who have used the scheme - where they can apply to HM Revenue and Customs for a grant of 80% of a furloughed employee’s monthly salary, capped at £2,500 - as an alternative to lay-off or losing their job as their income has collapsed because of crisis and the lockdown it has caused.

Guidelines for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme state that organisations which receive public funding to support staffing costs cannot furlough staff, which impacts upon many charities. But law firm Lindsays believes it may be appropriate in some cases.

Ben Doherty, employment partner at the firm, said organisations that receive public funding should not be put off from applying.

He said: “Third sector organisations which receive public money may, in certain circumstances, still be able to place staff on furlough. They should certainly not be put off making an application to HMRC.

“For example, charities have been left with no option but to close their fundraising shops. Why not furlough the people who worked there? The shops are bringing in no income. The same could apply to fundraising teams, where the events they would normally run can no longer be staged - and where there’s no prospect of them being held in the near future. All of their work has had to stop. If you don’t furlough them, you may face having to make them redundant.

“Likewise in social care where bank workers are used, but where they are unable to do their work at the moment. There’s nothing to be lost in making an application. We’re hearing reports of trade unions being supportive of this and willing to work with employers on appeals if initial applications are rejected.”

“As guidance has been updated, it has become clear that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has - in many ways - become an extension to the social security system. It’s about keeping money going into households.”

Lindsays also believes charities that receive public money for staffing with employees who cannot work because they are shielding - or because they live with someone who is shielding - should also be entitled to be place these staff on furlough.

It has been revealed that one in five British workers has been furloughed, meaning the government is paying the wages of 6.3 million people. Downing Street says the initiative has cost £8 billion so far.

Although Chancellor Rishi Sunak said this week he intends phasing out the scheme as the UK economy recovers from Covid-19, no date for its end is yet known. Applications are open until the end of June.

More information and advice on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be found on the Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub.



Be the first to comment.