Top 7 tips for the Furloughed Worker
The last two weeks have been among the most testing in living memory for many among the working population. The Coronavirus death toll has continued to rise, and the government have enforced a strict policy of isolation. The spreading virus has inevitably taken a toll on the mental health of people who might otherwise be enjoying the spring sunshine.
Millions of employees have been forced either to work from home or take leave due to the enforced isolation. The government has responded to the widespread concern by introducing business grants that will enable such employees to remain on the payroll for the foreseeable future.
As a “furloughed” worker you can be assured of continued employment. However, you will be on an unpaid leave of absence, requiring you to rely on alternative finance until you can make a return to regular employment. The government have pledged to pay 80% of your salary up to the value of £2,500 per month until the Coronavirus is under control and normal working conditions are restored. Some employers will make up the difference so that you receive a full salary in the meantime.
All people who have been on PAYE will be eligible for payment as furloughed workers. This includes those of who have been working full-time, part-time, and on agency contracts. However, those employed after February 28th may not be placed on furlough or claim under the scheme.
If you are at all concerned about the impact of the drop in earnings then you should consider the option of registering for universal credit. There are also welfare support schemes for the payment of rent and other expenses (see the Gov.uk benefits page for further information).
It is expected that the job retention scheme will extend until early June, with an extension being quite possible depending on the continued impact of the virus.
Employment Requirements & Recommendations
Employers must meet these requirements for the registration of furloughed workers:
- Designate employees who cannot do their jobs due to the coronavirus measures put in place by the Government
- Notify those employees of their new "furloughed" status
- Submit information to HMRC about furloughed employees to set up a system for reimbursement and existing systems that will facilitate payments.
Our top 7 tips for you as a furloughed worker:
- Continue developing your knowledge and skills in preparation for the return to work
- Set and keep to a weekly schedule (taking the daily opportunity of outdoor exercise where possible)
- Explore mindfulness or other forms of meditation that can support with stress, anxiety, mental clarity (you can use apps such as calm, headspace or https://www.developgoodhabits.com/best-mindfulness-apps/ )
- Pursue a variety of hobbies and interests (you could find the time to learn an instrument or hone your writing skills or paint or dance something that creates a positive vibe)
- Stay connected with friends and family (video chat tools such as Skype and Zoom are proving very popular at this time of social isolation)
- Volunteer in the local community (have a look on Facebook to find a group offering voluntary opportunities in your area)
- Create a household budget (you could set up a basic spreadsheet or make use of budget friendly apps to keep on top of your stretched finances)