Guidance for managers and staff on being placed on furlough can be confusing especially when you are worried about what to do for the best. There are several sources of help though to help you consider your options.
In this post, I shall outline some sources of help. In a later post, I shall discuss aspects of furloughing staff such as varying the terms of employment for a temporary period to cover the furlough and other flexibility.
1 Citizens Advice Web Site
This is free site available for the public to view and may be of particular help to individuals who are struggling to work out the right option for their circumstances.
The site will also help employers to make more sense of the range of options.
The links below will take you to the relevant part of the Citizens Advice site.
If neither of those options help you in your circumstances, you may find it helpful to read the section on applying for benefits to help pay the priority bills for a temporary period in the current difficult circumstances. This link will take you to the relevant section to apply for benefits due to loss of work or not meeting the criteria for the Government Schemes to date. Use this link
Help with Completing Forms
Forms can confuse most of us at times so if you need help to understand the options and/ or to fill in a form, you can contact Citizens Advice using their telephone adviceline service. You will in most cases need to provide information about your normal expenses so make a list of the bills and expenditure you have to meet. Do not forget any expenditure that occurs
- Once a year;
- Every 6 months;
- Weeklly or
To help you answer questions also note down any income you are still gettng and any savings. These notes will help you and the adviser to explain your options and the likely amount of help you will receive.
The Citizens Adviceline telephone humber is 03444 111 444. Your call may be free of charge if you have a phone deal that includes free calls to landlines.
Due to the virus risks, most Citizens Advice offices are closed but some offices also offer a web chat service if you would prefer that way of obtaining advice. Go to the Citizens Advice service website to see if there is a web chat service available or ask the Adviceline Service person.
Help to Claim Universal Credit
You can contact a Citizens Advice adviser through the free national Help to Claim phone service for England on 0800 144 8 444 Remember to have available the note of your expenditure, savings and any income, as mentioned above as the adviser will ask you for such details.
You will gather from looking at the Citizens Advice web site that it covers a wide range of topics from your rights when buying goods on line to renting or buying property etc. It is free to use so next time you have an issue that may be a useful site to look at.
2 ACAS Website and Advice
This site is designed for use by both employees and workers as well as employers. You should find answers to the more common questions that arise on the Goverment Job Retention scheme and on issues arising from the virus pandemic.
A useful starting point about issues that managers face can be viewed via this link.
There is also a suggested template letter for giving to staff who are being placed on furlough. Just remember that you need to consider a degree of flexibility when composing such a letter for your organisation.
Employee Queries about Furlough Implications
The link in the second paragraph above also covers often asked questions about:
- taking holiday leave;
- sick leave and pay when isolating yourself;
- time off to look after a dependant.
3 Government Web Site
This site covers a wide range of topics about the coronavirus. Of greater interest to employers and workers are the sections dealing with the financial help and advice that is available. This link will take you to the main section about this.
A Changing Scene
There are many others sites offering advice such as the Money Advice web site. One point to note about all these sites is that the pandemic situation is changing frequently. Therefore you will need to return to the sites regularly to check for any relevant changes in the advice appropriate to your needs.
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Editor’s Note – The author of this post is a voluntary adviser for Citizens Advice. The comments are personal.
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© 2020 Jim Harrington,
HR Management Dimensions