Sheghley Ogilvie examines the impact of furlough on the voluntary sector, and is looking for organisations to share their experiences of the scheme
A few years ago I had never heard of furlough. 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic, furlough is so familiar it is used as shorthand for the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme; the scheme which guaranteed employees at least 80% of their wages (up to £2,500 each month) while they are unable to work due to social restrictions. From 1 July the government will pay 70% falling to 60% from August and September. Employers will pay 10% and 20% respectively to ensure employees continue to receive 80% of their wages as the scheme winds down.
Over the last 18 months the scheme has frequently hit the headlines. Furlough even made the short list for Collins Dictionary ‘Word of the Year’ in 2020.
We are all familiar with the concept of furlough now. What is less clear is how the scheme has been used across the voluntary sector. Similarly, as the scheme comes to an end, what this might mean for voluntary organisations is unknown. Are some types of voluntary organisations most vulnerable to the end of furlough? Are some colleagues in the sector more at risk than others? What impact will the end of furlough have on an organisations finances?
While the scheme has protected millions of jobs across the UK, it hasn’t been perfect. There have been no safeguards in place to ensure no one is paid below the minimum wage while furloughed, for example.
The UK Government’s repeated premature attempts to wind down the scheme have also created uncertainty, stress, and unnecessary job losses.
At SCVO we are interested in how the sector has used the scheme. We want to understand how well the scheme has been implemented. As the scheme draws to a close, possibly at the end of September 2021, we want to learn more about the implications for voluntary sector organisations in Scotland.
To learn more we have launched the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) survey.
The findings of this survey will inform SCVO’s lobbying activity. We will also use the findings to ensure that the practical support SCVO provides meets the needs of voluntary organisations.
To share how furlough has impact your organisation complete the survey by Friday 2 July.