Exempt from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by Start Date – The furlough loophole & the dilemma for employers
The furlough scheme, or Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, has been widely welcomed by companies to protect their staff and their businesses. It has proved effective in not only protecting those long-standing employees, but also those that recently joined companies and found themselves either made redundant or very much expecting to be made redundant.
With any scheme like this, there needs to be boundaries and qualifying periods. Originally it applied to only those on employer’s payroll on 28th February, this was later extended until 19th March, protecting potentially an extra 200,000 people across various industries. The line needs to be drawn somewhere of course. However, but it means that many people who started jobs and had not yet made it on to the payroll, fall into the furlough loophole and now find themselves unemployed. In addition to this are those people who had accepted positions but had not yet started them. Prior to the crisis, the Travel Industry appeared to be thriving and recruiting, with many candidates starting jobs through March, April and May. This is highlighted by an article on The Guardian Online:
https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/apr/18/new-starters-furlough-loophole-britain-coronavirus-support-newly-hired-staff-seasonal-workers which comments on the high impact of the furlough loophole on leisure & tourism, with many seasonal jobs due to start too.
For most employers, it left them with no option but to terminate employment for those newly joined employees who were not on the payroll at the right time, and to retract job offers for those due to start, or to postpone the start date at best. The main reason for this was the immediate impact on businesses, the restrictions of lockdown caused. However, for other employers it was the inability to be able to practically continue training during a period of remote working. Many Travel Professionals I have been speaking with, that have been affected by this, are having to take temporary work outside the industry to make ends meet until the industry gradually starts to recover.
What next for Travel Companies and employees who have fallen into the furlough loophole? Communication is key here. We risk losing talented travel industry professionals from the industry completely. As the industry recovers, employers will need these people to help the industry back on its feet. We need to make the most of the time we have, to speak to these people and keep talent connected to the industry.
We are here to support and advise employers and employees alike through these challenging times. It’s so important to keep Travel Professionals updated and connected to the industry, in order to eventually get them back into the industry they love, and to therefore help Travel Companies to expand again. This day may seem some way in the distance at present, but it will come eventually. And we will want the right experienced Travel Professionals working in our businesses when it does!
7th May 2020