Furloughed workers could be a ‘real lifeline’ to the care sector, which is struggling to deal with staff shortages in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a law firm.
As previously reported by Social Care Today, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that people who have been furloughed and are receiving 80% of their wage from the government will not be penalised if they take a second job.
But according to the head of the social care team at law firm Royds Withy King, James Sage, many care providers have lost a quarter of their workforce due to the coronavirus and need additional staff now.
‘This guidance from government offers them a real lifeline,’ said Mr Sage.
‘The challenge, however, will be creating awareness and directing furloughed staff from other industries to vacancies in the care sector. A national social media campaign would be needed to see significant gains, but care providers can also run their own local and regional campaigns.
‘Another possible answer is Care Friends, an employee referral app from social care innovator Neil Eastwood, which could be utilised by providers to recruit the friends and family of their workforce who may have been furloughed from their jobs.’
Royds Withy King’s employment lawyer and partner, David Israel, added: ‘The guidance confirms that workers who have been furloughed can work for other organisations, subject to any restrictions in their employment contracts, without adversely affecting their entitlement to 80% of pay while furloughed by their primary employer. This was not prohibited under previous guidance but has now been expressly confirmed.
‘This provides a significant opportunity for furloughed staff (either on a paid or unpaid basis) to help businesses and organisations that need staff to survive the Coronavirus crisis or to replace staff who are off work because they or their family members are in vulnerable groups.
‘We can see this confirmation from Government being particularly helpful to the retail distribution, care, and agricultural sectors,’ he added.
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