The Furlough Scheme Explained

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme open to UK employers for at least three months from 1st March 2020. The scheme supports employers whose business has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). Employers can claim 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions.

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had a PAYE payroll scheme on the 28th February 2020. It’s up to the employer to choose which employees are furloughed although consultation must be undertaken first.

While furloughed employees retain their jobs, they aren’t allowed to do any work for the employer that has furloughed them, HMRC has reserved the right to carry out investigations into businesses it feels may have broken the rules, fines for which are substantial.

If you’re looking for more information about the scheme visit gov.uk.

It’s understandable to be stressed at this time – whether you’ve been furloughed, a member of your family has, or something similar. It’s not an easy situation that we’ve all found ourselves in, but we need to remember that it will pass with time.

Financial Worries

A recent survey by YouGov has found that 55% are now worried about their family’s finances, and 31% of people are worried about missing bill payments over the next six months.

What to do:

Try not to panic – No problem is unsolvable and there are plenty of organisations and people who can offer you support.

Reach out – If you have debts and are worried, reach out to the company you have the debt with – mortgage providers, credit card companies, banks, utility companies, etc. Most already have a contingency plan in place to support you – allowing you either payment and interest breaks or deferred payments.

The FCA has also announced that they are asking banks to freeze payments on loans and credit cards for up to three months for those facing difficulties.

Stay up to date with the news – The government have announced lots of measures that are there to support employees, the self- employed, and wider society. It’s worth staying up to date and listening out for new announcements.

Create a budget – Set aside some time to come up with a new, realistic budget of incomes and outgoings. It’s better to spend some time in organising it and to get it right than to rush it.

Check your bank – Choose a regular time each week (or more regularly) to look at your money and expenditure to check that you’re on track.

Look for ways to cut costs – For example use comparison sites to find better deals on your bills. Many people can save hundreds of pounds by doing this.

Do not try to ignore the situation

– Dealing with the problem early on is the best approach and can help you to reduce your worry.

Remember that this situation will pass and you can regain control again over your finances.

Reducing Coronavirus Related Worry

It’s okay to find the current situation tough but remember that it will pass in due course.

Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean being happy 24/7, it means acknowledging the situation and emotions, but knowing that we can get through life’s challenges.

Avoid overexposure to the news, stay informed but limit time checking the news if it feels overwhelming.

Similarly, don’t keep re-reading the same advice if it’s causing you anxiety.

Talk to others about concerns and feelings. Speak with others regularly through video calls, phone calls, and messages. It’s reassuring and can help us to calm down, but it also helps us to know that feeling uncertain is okay.

Try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, incorporate some exercise across the day, and get enough sleep. Get outside, get into your own garden when possible.

These gym free workouts may also help.

There’s a high chance you’ll be spending a lot of time in your own home. Try to keep it as clean and tidy as possible, as this is good for wellbeing. Cleaning can also help you to be active, which is good for our mental health.

Try to regularly spend time in different rooms too.

There are many hobbies and things that we can do while socially distancing. You may find that you’ve got some extra time now.

Find online activities that you could do with others, play board games, get into learning a new language, learning an instrument, or get gardening/crafting.

Write down the things you are grateful for and be thankful for people who are working to ensure that we are safe and healthy. The NHS has been recruiting for volunteers to support it during these times and helping others in this way is good for your mental health. If you are interested in this, click here.

Support

There is a lot of support out there at this time, if you need it you should seek it. If you are having psychotherapy or counselling, see if you’re able to carry on your sessions via video call software such as Zoom.

These following organisations provide information and support regarding mental health:

Samaritans – www.samaritans.org/ – If you would like to talk to someone for support, you can call them on 116 123, 24/7.

Anxiety UK – www.anxietyuk.org.uk/ – A national charity formed in 1970, by someone living with agoraphobia, for those affected by anxiety, stress and anxiety based depression – Helpline: 0344 477 5744, text service: 07537 416 905

Shout – the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis. If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, struggling with your mental health, or need support, text Shout to 85258. This will connect you with a trained volunteer.

The Hub of Hope – www.hubofhope.co.uk/ – a national mental health database which brings together organisations who offer mental health advice and support, based on location.

Mind – www.mind.org.uk/ – Infoline: 0300 123 3393

DISCLAIMER

The information provided in this document is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for licensed

medical or professional care. If you believe you have a medical emergency, you should immediately dial 999.