How Have Firms Acted During Furlough?

Furlough is a word that at the start of the year, very few of us had heard of. Yet now, it has become one of the regular used words of 2020.

Yet, as the deadline for registering ‘first time’ furlough staff approaches (10th June), we wanted to see how firms had adapted to the new ‘norm’ of maintaining their workforce during these unprecedented times.

Many law firms asked furloughed staff to take a proportion of their annual holiday leave, whilst on furlough to ensure there is no holiday build up once staff return.

Meanwhile, a cross-industry group have sent an open letter to the government asking for furlough restrictions to be relaxed from three to one week.

Today’s Conveyancer wanted to find out if law firms were adopting a conservative approach to unfurloughing staff because of the financial obligations.

Brian Rogers, Regulatory Director at Riliance, said:

“The main issue for me is firms that have put staff on furlough and then put them under pressure to work, or do other tasks that breach the furlough rules; I believe a number of firms could get caught when HMRC carries out audits of the scheme and will then be subject to enforcement action by both HMRC and the SRA. Even if HMRC does not catch firms itself reports could be made by staff who have been pressurized into working and who fear action being taken against them so want to “strike first”.”

Over the coming weeks and months the furlough scheme will slowly begin to morph and change as the UK economy continues to fight back against the coronavirus pandemic.

How has your firm used the furlough scheme? What have been your experiences?

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