Furloughed due to lack of work.

Carlisle1967Carlisle1967 Forumite
4 Posts
First Post
MoneySaving Newbie
Hello all.
I have been on furlough since March last year and as I work in the construction industry it is not as affected as other sectors.
I have been employed with this company for 20 years I am now on what my boss says is flexible furlough which seems to mean I am basically called in with little or no notice for maybe half a day here or there.
Last year I started doing my own work and have registered as self employed for this, this is not against anything in my current contract and luckily I am pretty busy at the moment.
The other thing is we have no child care so one of us has to do the school run and as my other half works and can pick up extra shifts it makes planning things difficult if I have things booked in that I am expected to attend with little notice.
Again I am furloughed due to lack of work rather than not being able to work, I know he doesn’t want to pay out for our redundancy but he seems to have lost interest in the company about 5 years ago anyway.
So my questions are.
Does flexible furlough mean I can be called in for any amount of time at with little or no notice?

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Replies

  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
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    Does flexible furlough mean I can be called in for any amount of time at with little or no notice?
    Yes, pretty much.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme#when-furlough
    You need to be available to work for your employer, but it is odd that there is so little work given most of the construction business is busy now. 

    If the employer is just looking to wind the business up, then it would be better for all if he did so - indeed, you continue to accrue continuous service while on furlough so any redundancy may increase in value if it comes to that (except you seem to have reached the length of service cap). Maybe the boss is just hoping you will get bored and leave of your own accord.

    Even if the employer is not topping up salary to 100%, furlough is not "free" to the employer - you continue to accrue annual leave entitlement which is earned at 100%.  Is this an option to help cover time when you need to take over child care etc?

    On the current rules, the furlough scheme runs until the end of September, so I imagine the boss will have to make a decision then.  If it were me in your position, I would
    • assume there is no job / business to return to
    • do the best to build the self-employed work
    • not hand my notice in (why 'give away' the entitlement to redundancy pay if it is likely?)
    • make a decision about stay or go if the employer does call me back in for full time work come October.
  • Carlisle1967Carlisle1967 Forumite
    4 Posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    The bullet points are exactly what I have been thinking.
    He has a plumbing company but has moved away from that into full building and while plumbing is required for that it’s no where near the amount of work required for a full time plumber.
    He was going to shut up in March but kept it going due to the furlough extension.
    He doesn’t tender anything with the plumbing company so at the moment I am basically on call if anyone needs a boiler service or something small like that but it’s a bit of a nightmare trying to arrange my work and my other half’s around what may happen the following day.
    I have decided in the long term I want to leave anyway so the 3rd bullet point is why I am still putting up with it.
    There are only 5 of us so it makes sense to me to pay out I guess about 40k than have us doing nothing for 10k a month but that’s up to him.
  • Grumpy_chapGrumpy_chap Forumite
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    at the moment I am basically on call if anyone needs a boiler service or something small like that but it’s a bit of a nightmare trying to arrange my work and my other half’s around what may happen the following day.
    I have decided in the long term I want to leave anyway so the 3rd bullet point is why I am still putting up with it.

    In that case, your options are:
    1. Leave and start the new self-employed business.
    2. Start the self-employed business (on the side), put up with the work from the old employer when it comes and take the furlough (up to £2.5k / month for up to 4 months) and possible redundancy pay whenever.
    Is avoiding the "nightmare" worth forfeiting up to £10k plus whatever redundancy in the future?

    The other alternative is to leave and start the self-employed business, but offer to do the plumbing for the old business on self-employed basis.  That will give you more control but you still forfeit the furlough and redundancy money.

    In a way, the opportunity to establish a new self-employed business while the old employer is still paying you a basic wage is a golden opportunity.  Good luck.
  • sammyjammysammyjammy Forumite
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    If its only small jobs he asking you to do then just rearrange your jobs a little or leave a couple of hours a day free.  My plasterer left at lunchtime today as he had to look after his child, as long as he comes back and finishes the job I have no issue with it.
    "You've been reading SOS when it's just your clock reading 5:05 "
  • pjcox2005pjcox2005 Forumite
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    Whilst the post is aimed at whether the employer is right to request you back at short notice, you are wanting your cake and eating it currently. 

    At the moment you want flexibility for family commitments as well as to flex around your own self-employed business whilst continuing to pick up a salary via furlough for the employed work, It's not surprising that they conflict at times.

    Fully understand why you would, and likewise holding out for redundancy, I just think you have to accept that it will create issues whilst doing so.
  • ThrugelmirThrugelmir Forumite
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    Does flexible furlough mean I can be called in for any amount of time at with little or no notice?

    As you are contracted to work for your employer then yes. 
    It's not whether you're right or wrong that's important, but how much money you make when you're right and how much you lose when you're wrong." — George Soros
  • mattyprice4004mattyprice4004 Forumite
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    While furloughed you are being paid while doing no work for the employer - so technically you should be keeping yourself free as you would be for 'normal' work in normal times. 
    If it doesn't fit in with your childcare / other work, you need to leave and earn your wages through your self employment. 

    Expecting flexibility for childcare and your self employed business while earning a wage through furlough is definitely having your cake and eating it!
  • ILikeJohnLewisILikeJohnLewis Forumite
    2 Posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I’ve been furloughed since last March too.  According to my company I have to be given “reasonable” notice of a return to work to allow the arrangement of childcare etc. My company regards reasonable notice as 5 days.
    Check with Citizens Advice.
  • sherambersheramber Forumite
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    The OP is on flexi furlough which is a mix of furlough and working. The employer decides the work pattern.
  • ILikeJohnLewisILikeJohnLewis Forumite
    2 Posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    Then like any other part time worker he should be given his shifts in advance
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